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Full text of "Country reports on human rights practices : report submitted to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives and Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate by the Department of State in accordance with sections 116(d) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended"

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102d  Congress  JOINT  COMMITTEE  PRINT 

2d  Session 

*"^^—        PRACTICES  FOR  1991 

9  2        005 









VtHliMtNF  DQCy. 



MAR  1  ^  1<^^^ 

FEBRUARY  1992  .  ^„™ 

Printed  for  the  use  of  the  Committee  on  For^^Tfl^frsHirfd  Forei^ 
Relations  of  the  House  of  Representatives  and  the  Senate  respectively 



102d  Coneress 
2d  Session  '  JOINT  COMMITTEE  PRINT 











Printed  for  the  use  of  the  Committee  on  Foreign  Affairs  and  Foreign 
Relations  of  the  House  of  Representatives  and  the  Senate  respectively 

50-726  WASHINGTON  :    1992 

For  sale  by  the  U.S.  Government  Printing  Office 
Superintendent  of  Documents.  Congressional  Sales  Office,  Washington,  DC  20402 
ISBN   0-16-037393-X 


DANTE  B.  FASCELL,  Florida,  Chairman 

LEE  H.  HAMILTON,  Indiana 

GUS  YATRON,  Pennsylvania 

STEPHEN  J.  SOLARZ,  New  York 

HOWARD  WOLPE,  Michigan 

SAM  GEJDENSON,  Connecticut 

MERVYN  M.  DYMALLY,  California 

TOM  LANTOS,  California 


HOWARD  L.  BERMAN,  California 

MEL  LEVINE,  California 


TED  WEISS,  New  York 

GARY  L.  ACKERMAN,  New  York 

JAIME  B.  FUSTER,  Puerto  Rico 



ELIOT  L.  ENGEL,  New  York 


GERRY  E.  STUDDS,  Massachusetts 
AUSTIN  J.  MURPHY,  Pennsylvania 
PETER  H.  KOSTMAYER.  Pennsylvania 
THOMAS  M.  FOGLIETTA,  Pennsylvania 
DONALD  M.  PAYNE,  New  Jersey 


John  J.  Brady, 




WILLIAM  F.  GOODLING,  Pennsylvania 

JIM  LEACH,  Iowa 

TOBY  ROTH,  Wisconsin 


HENRY  J.  HYDE,  Illinois 

DOUG  BEREUTER,  Nebraska 


DAN  BURTON,  Indiana 

JAN  MEYERS,  Kansas 

JOHN  MILLER,  Washington 

BEN  BLAZ,  Guam 

ELTON  GALLEGLY,  California 

AMO  HOUGHTON,  New  York 

PORTER  J.  GOSS,  Florida 


Jr.,  Chief  of  Staff 


CLAIBORNE  PELL,  Rhode  Island,  Chairman 

JOSEPH  R.  BIDEN,  Jr.,  Delaware 
PAUL  S.  SARBANES,  Maryland 
ALAN  CRANSTON,  California 
CHRISTOPHER  J.  DODD,  Connecticut 
JOHN  F.  KERRY,  Massachusetts 
PAUL  SIMON,  Illinois 
TERRY  SANFORD,  North  Carolina 
CHARLES  S.  ROBB,  Virginia 
HARRIS  WOFFORD,  Pennsylvania 

Geryld  B.  Christianson,  Staff  Director 
James  P.  Lucier,  Minority  Staff  Director 

JESSE  HELMS,  North  Carolina 
RICHARD  G.  LUGAR,  Indiana 
LARRY  PRESSLER,  South  Dakota 
MITCH  McCONNELL,  Kentucky 
HANK  BROWN,  Colorado 
JAMES  M.  JEFFORDS,  Vermont 



The  country  reports  on  human  rights  practices  contained  herein 
were  prepared  by  the  Department  of  State  in  accordance  with  sec- 
tions 116(d)  and  502B(b)  of  the  Foreign  Assistance  Act  of  1961,  as 
amended.  They  also  fulfill  the  legislative  requirements  of  section 
31  of  the  Bretton  Woods  Agreements  Act  and  section  505(c)  of  the 
Trade  Act  of  1974,  as  amended. 

The  reports  cover  the  human  rights  practices  of  all  nations  that 
are  members  of  the  United  Nations  and  a  few  that  are  not.  They 
are  printed  to  assist  Members  of  Congress  in  the  consideration  of 
legislation,  particularly  foreign  assistance  legislation. 

Dante  B.  Fascell, 
Chairman,  Committee  on  Foreign  Affairs. 
Claiborne  Pell, 
Chairman,  Committee  on  Foreign  Relations. 



Department  op  State, 
Washington,  DC,  January  30,  1992. 
Hon.  Thomas  S.  Foley, 
Speaker,  House  of  Representatives. 
Hon.  Claiborne  Pell, 
Chairman,  Committee  on  Foreign  Relations, 

Dear  Sirs:  In  accordance  with  sections  116(d)(1)  and  502(b)  of 
the  Foreign  Assistance  Act  of  1961,  as  amended,  and  section  505(c) 
of  the  Trade  Act  of  1974,  as  amended,  I  am  transmitting  the 
Country  Reports  on  Human  Rights  Practices  for  1991. 


Janet  G.  Mullins, 
Assistant  Secretary,  Legislative  Affairs. 




This  report  is  svibmitted  to  the  Congress  by  the  Department  of 
State  in  compliance  with  Sections  116(d)(1)  and  502B(b)  of  the 
Foreign  Assistance  Act  of  1961,  as  amended.*  The  legislation 
requires  human  rights  reports  on  all  countries  that  receive  aid 
from  the  United  States  and  all  countries  that  are  members  of 
the  United  Nations.   In  the  belief  that  the  information  would 
be  useful  to  the  Congress  and  other  readers,  we  have  also 
included  reports  on  the  few  countries  which  do  not  fall  into 
either  of  these  categories  and  which  thus  are  not  covered  by 
the  Congressional  requirement. 

Congress  amended  the  Foreign  Assistance  Act  with  the  foregoing 
sections  of  law  so  as  to  to  be  able  to  consult  these  reports 
when  considering  assistance  programs  for  specific  foreign 
countries.   One  of  the  very  important  consequences — perhaps 
unintended — of  these  legislative  provisions  is  that  they  have 
made  human  rights  concerns  an  integral  part  of  the  State 
Department's  daily  reporting  and  daily  decisionmaking.   A  human 
rights  officer  in  an  Embassy  overseas  who  wants  to  write  a  good 
annual  human  rights  report  on  the  country  in  which  he  or  she 
works  must  carefully  monitor  and  observe  human  rights 
developments  throughout  the  year  on  a  daily  basis.   As  a 
consequence  he  or  she  will  report  on  such  developments  whenever 
something  of  human  rights  significance  happens  in  the  country 
of  assignment.   In  the  past  13  years,  the  State  Department  has 
become  decidedly  better  informed  on  and  sensitized  to  human 
rights  violations  as  they  occur  around  the  globe. 

*  Section  116(d)(1)  of  the  Foreign  Assistance  Act  provides  as 
follows : 


"The  Secretary  of  State  shall  transmit  to  the  Speaker  of  the 
House  of  Representatives  ard  the  Committee  on  Foreign  Relations 
of  the  Senate,  by  January  31  of  each  year,  a  full  and  complete 
report  regarding. . . 

"(1)   the  status  of  internationally  recognized  human 
rights,  within  the  meaning  of  subsection  (a)... 

(A)  in  countries  that  received  assistance  under  this  part, 

(B)  in  all  other  foreign  countries  which  are  members  of 
the  United  Nations  and  which  are  not  otherwise  the  subject  of  a 
human  rights  report  under  this  Act." 

Section  502(B) (b)  of  the  Foreign  Assistance  Act  provides  as 
follows : 

"The  Secretary  of  State  shall  transmit  to  Congress,  as  part  of 
the  presentation  materials  for  security  assistance  programs 
proposed  for  each  fiscal  year,  a  full  and  complete  report, 
prepared  with  the  assistance  of  the  Assistant  Secretary  of 
State  for  Human  Rights  and  Humanitarian  Affairs,  with  respect 
to  practices  regarding  the  observance  of  and  respect  for 
internationally  recognized  human  rights  in  each  country 
proposed  as  a  recipient  of  security  assistance." 



For  most  of  the  Twentieth  Century  the  principal  ideological 
challenge  to  the  cause  of  democracy  and  respect  for  human 
rights  has  come  from  the  doctrines  laid  down  and  the  movement 
created  at  the  beginning  of  the  century  by  Vladimir  Lenin.   The 
horrors  of  World  War  II,  devastating  as  they  were  to  those 
directly  affected,  were,  as  to  their  impact,  limited  in  time 
and  place.   It  was  Lenin  and  Communism  which  cast  the  longest 
shadow  by  far,  influencing  developments  across  the  entire  globe 
decade  after  decade. 

Hand  in  hand  with  Communism's  messianic  promise  came  the 
dreaded  secret  police  apparatus,  whose  task  it  was  to  repress 
all  dissenting  views  and  thus  deprive  all  those  under  its  rule 
of  basic  human  rights.   In  these  volumes  we  have  during  the 
last  4  years  chronicled  the  significant  changes  effected  in  the 
state  and  party  created  by  Lenin,  the  loosening  of  totalitarian 
rule  under  the  leadership  of  Mikhail  S.  Gorbachev.   We  need  now 
to  take  note  of  the  poignant  events  of  1991,  which  brought 
Lenin's  social  experiment  to  an  end  in  the  very  country  which 
gave  it  birth. 

In  this  account  of  human  rights  developments  we  should  take 
special  note  of  the  event  on  August  22,  1991,  when  the  statue 
of  Felix  Dzherzhinsky  was  toppled  from  its  pedestal  in  front  of 
the  KGB  headquarters  in  Moscow.   "Iron  Felix,"  Lenin's  secret 
police  chief  and  the  founder  of  a  network  of  agents  of  brutal 
repression  which  spanned  the  globe,  and  which  as  late  as  August 
20  had  tried  to  impose  its  will  on  the  Soviet  Union,  had 
finally  been  removed  from  his  place  of  honor.   It  was  a 
symbolic  act,  but  it  duly  marked  the  end  of  an  era. 

Yet,  far  from  its  place  of  birth,  Leninism,  though  in  decline, 
still  is  the  faith  in  whose  name  people  are  being  repressed. 
And  there  are  other  less  traditional  challenges  to  human  rights 
as  well  as  potential  new  challenges. 

Now  that  the  Albanian  people  have  put  their  country  on  the  road 
to  democracy,  the  set  of  beliefs  which  originated  on  the 
European  continent  and  which  Stalin  dubbed  Marxism-Leninism  has 
by  and  large  disappeared  from  Europe.   As  a  foreign  import  it 
survives,  however,  in  China,  where  it  controls  the  lives  of 
one-fifth  of  humankind,  and  in  four  other  countries:   North 
Korea,  Cuba,  Vietnam,  and  Laos.   The  faith  which  once  inspired 
the  movement  is  long  gone.   Communism  is  today  more  a  system 
for  the  exercise  of  power  by  aging  ruling  elites,  which  are 
increasingly  out  of  touch  with  the  thinking  of  their  subjects 
but  still  try  to  use  the  power  which  they  possess  to  suppress 
all  independent  thought. 

Repressive  government  is,  however,  not  limited  to  the  countries 
which  still  espouse  Leninist  principles.   Dictatorships 
offering  unicjue  ideologies  of  their  own,  or  no  ideology  at  all, 
continue  to  exist.   Burma,  whose  imprisoned  popular  leader, 
Aung  San  Suu  Kyi,  received  the  Nobel  Peace  Prize,  attracted 
particular  attention  in  1991.   So  did,  of  course,  the  one-man 
dictatorship  of  Iraq.   These  are  merely  two  examples  of  a 
category  of  countries  in  which,  either  in  the  name  of  a 
religious  or  a  secular  ideology  or  without  any  ideological 
commitment,  all  opposition  to  the  State  and  all  independent 
institutions  are  repressed  through  a  pervasive  secret  police  or 
domestic  spy  apparatus  which  instills  fear  in  the  citizenry. 

Between  the  totally  repressive  dictatorships,  on  the  one  hand, 
and  the  democracies,  on  the  other,  there  is  the  vast  array  of 
authoritarian  regimes,  regimes  which  do  not  seek  to  control  all 
forms  of  social  interaction  in  their  countries  but  which  will 
carefully  guard  their  position  and  prerogatives  against  any 
group  that  seeks  to  replace  them.   The  number  of  regimes  in 


this  category  is  in  decline,  particularly  in  Africa,  where 
multiparty  democracy  and  free  elections  have  in  a  growing 
number  of  countries  replaced  one-man  rule  and  rigged  elections. 
Sub-Saharan  Africa  continued  in  1991  as  the  region  in  which 
democracy  and  respect  for  human  rights  are  making  new  strides 
forward.   Zambia,  where  a  long-established  one-party  regime  was 
overwhelmingly. defeated  in  a  free  and  fair  election,  is  a 
particularly  noteworthy  case  in  point. 

Although  democracy  provides  the  foundation  on  which  a  system  of 
government  respectful  of  human  rights  can  be  built,  the  mere 
fact  that  the  executive  and  legislative  leaders  of  a  country 
are  chosen  in  free  and  fair  elections  does  not  necessarily 
guarantee  that  the  fundamental  freedoms  and  human  rights  of  all 
citizens  will  be  fully  protected.   This  is  particularly  true  in 
the  absence  of  an  independent  judiciary  capable  of  safeguarding 
the  rights  of  citizens  against  actions  by  the  executive  or 
legislative  branches  which  are  in  conflict  with  internationally 
recognized  human  rights  standards. 

The  ascendancy  of  democracy  throughout  the  world  is 
unquestionably  good  news  for  human  rights.   We  must  note, 
however,  that  even  democratically  elected  governments  can  be 
guilty  of  serious  human  rights  violations.   New  democracies,  in 
particular,  may  not  as  yet  have  the  institutional  safeguards  in 
place  which  protect  against  the  arbitrary  use  of  executive 
power,  particularly  by  security  forces.   The  most  common  such 
human  rights  violations  are  the  use  of  undue  pressure  or  even 
torture  to  obtain  confessions  from  persons  suspected  of  having 
committed  serious  crimes,  particularly  those  accused  of 
terrorism.   The  more  serious  the  terrorist  threat,  the  greater 
the  number  of  incidents  of  police  abuse.   (Police  abuse  and 
torture  are,  of  course,  also  commonplace  under  authoritarian 
and  totalitarian  rule.) 

In  the  absence  of  an  independent  judiciary  and  solidly  rooted 
democratic  popular  instincts  in  the  new  democracies,  the  recent 
advances  are  by  no  means  secure.   The  danger  of  relapses  into 
authoritarian  rule  are  greatest  where  the  expectations  for 
early  economic  improvements  have  been  disappointed.   The 
challenge  to  the  world's  established  democracies  is  to  help 
those  new  to  the  fold  to  sustain  themselves. 

The  sharp  decline  in  the  influence  of  the  worldwide  Communist 
movement  has  not  only  spelled  the  end  of  Leninist  dictatorships 
in  many  countries  but  has  also  caused  violent  conflicts  and 
human  rights  abuses  based  on  political  ideology  to  decline 
worldwide.   At  the  same  time,  regrettably,  we  have  witnessed  an 
upsurge  on  all  continents  of  serious  armed  clashes  and  human 
rights  abuse  stemming  from  ethnic  and  religious  differences. 
The  creation  of  mechanisms  to  help  resolve  disputes  based  on 
ethnicity  and  religion  and  efforts  to  combat  intolerance  are 
undoubtedly  in  the  forefront  of  the  challenges  now  facing  the 
international  community. 

To  sum  up,  the  year  1991  was  one  of  great  progress  for  the 
cause  of  democracy  and  human  rights  worldwide.   But  the 
problems  faced  by  the  world  in  consolidating  such  progress  and 
dealing  with  old  and  new  threats  to  fundamental  freedoms  must 
not  be  underestimated. 

Richard  Schifter 

Assistant  Secretary  of  State  for 

Human  Rights  and  Humanitarian  Affairs 



Foreword HI 

Letter  of  Transmittal V 

Introduction VII 


Angola , 1 

Benin 10 

Botswana 17 

Burkina  Faso 25 

Burundi 32 

Cameroon 42 

Cape  Verde 55 

Central  African  Republic 61 

Chad '^1 

Comoros 80 

Congo 86 

Cote  d'lvoire 93 

Djibouti 102 

Equatorial  Guinea 110 

Ethiopia 118 

Gabon •• 133 

Gambia,  The 141 

Ghana 149 

Guinea 159 

Guinea-Bissau 168 

Kenya 174 

Lesotho 190 

Liberia 199 

Madagascar 210 

Malawi 220 

Mali 230 

Mauritania 239 

Mauritius 250 

Mozambique 257 

Namibia 268 

Niger 278 

Nigeria 286 

Rwanda 302 

Sao  Tome  and  Principe 312 

Senegal 317 

Seychelles 327 

Sierra  Leone 336 

Somalia 344 

South  Africa 352 

Sudan 376 

Swaziland 392 

Tanzania 402 

Togo 414 

Uganda 425 

Zaire 437 

Zambia 449 

Zimbabwe 460 

Central  and  South  America: 

Antigua  and  Barbuda 473 

Argentina 478 




Central  and  South  America — Continued 

Bahamas,  The 487 

Barbados 495 

Belize 500 

Bolivia 506 

Brazil 513 

Chile 524 

Colombia 534 

Costa  Rica 546 

Cuba 553 

Dominica 567 

Dominican  Republic 572 

Ecuador 582 

El  Salvador 592 

Grenada 607 

Guatemala 613 

Guyana 625 

Haiti 633 

Honduras 643 

Jamaica 656 

Mexico 664 

Nicaragua 678 

Panama 690 

Paraguay 699 

Peru 708 

St.  Kitts  and  Nevis 723 

St.  Lucia 727 

St.  Vincent  and  the  Grenadines 732 

Suriname 737 

Trinidad  and  Tobago 746 

Uruguay 755 

Venezuela 762 

East  Asia  and  the  Pacific: 

Australia 772 

Brunei 780 

Burma 786 

Cambodia 798 

China 809 

China  (Taiwan  only) 834 

Fiji 848 

Indonesia 859 

Japan 876 

Kiribati 883 

Korea,  Democratic  People's  Republic  of 887 

Korea,  Republic  of 895 

Laos 907 

Malaysia 915 

Marshall  Islands 929 

Micronesia,  Federated  States  of 933 

Mongolia 937 

Nauru 943 

New  Zealand 947 

Papua  New  Guinea 952 

Philippines 961 

Singapore 977 

Solomon  Islands 991 

Thailand 996 

Tonga 1013 

Tuvalu 1017 

Vanuatu 1021 

Vietnam 1026 

Western  Samoa 1037 

Europe  and  North  America: 

Albania 1042 

Austria 1052 

Belgium 1058 

Bulgaria 1064 

Canada 1073 



Europe  and  North  America — Continued 

Cyprus 1078 

Czech  and  Slovak  Federal  Republic 1085 

Denmark 1094 

Estonia 1099 

Finland 1104 

France 1109 

Germany : 1115 

Greece 1122 

Hungary 1132 

Iceland ; 1139 

Ireland 1143 

Italy 1149 

Latvia 1157 

Liechtenstein 1163 

Lithuania 1167 

Luxembourg 1174 

Malta 1178 

Netherlands,  The 1183 

Norway 1189 

Poland 1195 

Portugal  (includes  Macau) 1207 

Romania 1218 

Spain 1229 

Sweden 1236 

Switzerland 1242 

Turkey 1247 

Union  of  Soviet  Socialist  Republics 1267 

United  Kingdom  (includes  Hong  Kong) 1292 

Yugoslavia 1309 

Near  East,  North  Africa,  and  South  Asia: 

Afghanistan 1326 

Algeria 1334 

Bahrain 1344 

Bangladesh 1353 

Bhutan 1367 

Egypt 1374 

India ■. 1388 

Iran 1407 

Iraq 1419 

Israel  and  the  occupied  territories 1430 

Jordan 1456 

Kuwait 1466 

Lebanon 1485 

Libya 1495 

Maldives 1502 

Morocco 1509 

The  Western  Sahara 1523 

Nepal 1526 

Oman 1539 

Pakistan 1548 

Qatar 1569 

Saudi  Arabia 1576 

Sri  Lanka 1589 

Syria 1604 

Tunisia 1615 

United  Arab  Emirates 1627 

Yemen,  Republic  of 1635 


A.  Notes  on  preparation  of  the  reports 1646 

B.  Reporting  on  worker  rights 1650 

C.  Selected  international  human  rights  agreements 1652 

D.  Explanation  of  statistical  tables 1657 

E.  U.S.  bilateral  assistance,  fiscal  years  1990  and  1991 1658 


During  the  first  part  of  1991,  the  Government  of  the  People's 
Republic  of  Ai^gola  (GPRA)  remained  under  the  control  of  the 
sole  legal  political  party,  the  Popular  Movement  for  the 
Liberation  of  Angola-Workers  Party  (MPLA-PT) .   President  Jose 
Eduardo  dos  Santos  continued  to  act  as  both  Head  of  State  and 
chief  of  the  MPLA-PT.   All  major  policy  decisions  were  taken  by 
a  small  group  within  the  party,  which  also  controlled  all  means 
of  mass  communication. 

The  16-year  armed  conflict  between  the  GPRA  and  the  armed 
opposition,  the  National  Union  for  the  Total  Independence  of 
Angola  (UNITA) ,  also  continued  in  early  1991.   UNITA  remained 
in  control  of  the  southeastern  quarter  of  Angola  and  portions 
of  the  north,  and  increased  its  activity  in  central  Angola. 
Heavy  fighting  erupted  around  the  eastern  provincial  capital  of 
Luena  in  early  April  and  continued  until  the  cease-fire  on  May 
15,  resulting  in  heavy  civilian  casualties  and  the  flight  of 
large  numbers  of  additional  refugees  to  Zambia.   According  to 
the  United  Nations,  the  last  of  the  Cuban  troops  who  remained 
in  Angola  in  support  of  FAPLA  departed  on  May  27,  more  than  a 
month  before  the  deadline  specified  in  the  New  York  Accords  of 
December  22,  1988. 

In  1991,  two  related  major  events  significantly  altered  the 
political  and  military  situation  in  Angola.   While  the 
administration  of  the  GPRA  remained  under  the  control  of  the 
MPLA,  constitutional  reforms  were  enacted  in  May  in  the  wake  of 
the  peace  negotiations  with  UNITA,  paving  the  way  for  future 
multiparty,  democratic  government.   The  revised  1991 
Constitution  contains  provisions  for  the  formation  of 
independent  political  parties  and  guarantees  of  freedom  of  the 
press,  the  right  of  free  assembly,  and  the  right  of  workers  to 
strike.   Subsequent  laws  provided  the  legal  framework  for  these 
new  provisions. 

On  May  31,  the  GPRA  and  UNITA  signed  the  Angola  Peace  Accords, 
which  provide  for  a  comprehensive  U.N. -monitored  cease-fire, 
the  release  of  prisoners  (POW's),  the  formation  of  a  new 
nonpartisan  national  armed  force,  and  the  holding  of 
internationally  monitored  multiparty  elections  between 
September  1  and  November  30,  1992.   Under  the  terms  of  the 
Accords,  until  elections  the  GPRA  will  retain  control  of  the 
central  administration  which  is  being  extended  to  areas 
currently  under  the  control  of  UNITA.   Implementation  of  the 
Peace  Accords  is  under  the  authority  of  the  Joint  Political 
Military  Commission  (JPMC)  and  its  subcommissions . 

Angola  is  potentially  one  of  the  richest  countries  in 
sub-Saharan  Africa,  with  extensive  petroleum  reserves,  rich 
agricultural  land,  and  valuable  mineral  resources.   The  civil 
war,  combined  with  the  GPRA's  command-style  economy,  has 
devastated  the  country's  infrastructure,  led  to  a  return  to 
barter  in  many  areas,  and  forced  the  GPRA  to  divert  much  of  its 
revenues,  mainly  from  oil  exports,  to  the  military  and  to 
state-owned  enterprises.   Expressing  a  willingness  to  reform 
the  economy,  the  GPRA  in  1991  instituted  a  series  of  reforms 

*The  United  States  does  not  recognize  or  maintain  diplomatic 
relations  with  the  People's  Republic  of  Angola;  while  it 
maintains  a  liaison  office  in  Luanda  accredited  to  the  Joint 
Political  Military  Commission  overseeing  implementation  of  the 
May  31,  1991,  Peace  Accords,  access  to  information  on  the  human 
rights  situation  in  Angola  continues  to  be  limited. 



for  that  purpose,  including  three  devaluations  of  the  currency, 
decontrol  of  prices  on  most  commodities,  and  an  end  to  the 
special  and  complementary  supply  system.   However,  serious 
action  has  yet  to  be  taken  on  other  economic  issues,  including 
reduction  of  the  size  of  the  public  sector  and  the  the  shift  of 
public  expenditure  from  military  to  civilian  needs. 

The  civil  war  has  also  taken  a  devastating  toll  on  the  civilian 
population.   Estimates  of  victims  since  the  war  began  in  1976 
range  from  250,000  to  500,000  killed,  more  than  20,000  children 
orphaned,  30,000  to  50,000  amputees  caused  by  land  mines,  and 
430,000  refugees.   Throughout  the  war,  widespread  human  rights 
abuses  were  reported  by  both  sides,  ranging  from  extensive 
violence  against  civilians  and  mistreatment  of  prisoners  to 
arbitrary  detentions,  absence  of  fair  trials,  kidnaping  and 
forced  military  service,  forced  relocation,  and  restrictions  on 
freedom  of  speech,  press,  and  association.   At  the  beginning  of 
1991,  a  3-month  suspension  by  the  GPRA  of  a  U. N. -sponsored 
famine'  rel ief  program  further  endangered  the  estimated  1.9 
million  civilians  affected  by  conflict  and  drought. 

At  the  end  of  1991,  human  rights  continued  to  be 
circumscribed.   UNITA  alleged  that  civilian  security  forces 
continued  to  intimidate  its  supporters  and  that  the  GPRA  was 
using  its  control  of  the  administration  to  influence  the 
elections  unduly.   The  GPRA,  in  turn,  accused  UNITA  of 
targeting  MPLA  activists  for  assassination.   Emerging  parties 
charged  that  they  were  being  prevented  from  establishing 
themselves  by  discriminatory  registration  procedures  and 
intimidation  by  security  forces  as  well  as  by  UNITA  in  the 
interior . 

Nevertheless,  the  Peace  Accords  produced  significant 
improvements  in  the  human  rights  situation.   By  year's  end, 
there  had  been  no  serious  violations  of  the  cease-fire. 
According  to  the  International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross 
(ICRC),  all  POW s  but  two  had  been  released  by  the  GPRA,  and 
interviews  with  and  releases  of  POW s  held  by  UNITA  were 
continuing.   UNITA  and  the  GPRA  were  cooperating  in 
mine-clearing  operations  throughout  the  country.   Under  the 
auspices  of  the  JPMC,  UNITA  and  the  GPRA  had  agreed  on  a 
calendar  for  elections  and  on  programs  for  integration  of  the 
police  and  extension  of  the  GPRA  central  administration. 
Training  for  the  new  national  army  had  begun,  and  an  electoral 
law  had  been  drafted.    While  the  MPLA  retained  control  of 
government  structures  and  the  media,  26  new  political  parties 
had  announced  their  intention  to  become  established,  and 
anti-GPRA  propaganda  and  rallies  had  occurred  without 
interference . 


Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

Both  GPRA  and  UNITA  forces  have  in  the  past  carried  out 
extrajudicial  killings,  including  summary  executions  of 
prisoners.   Two  incidents,  one  in  which  UNITA  s  secretary 
general  for  Malange  province  was  ambushed  and  killed  in 
September  and  another  in  which  a  UNITA  sentry  killed  a  FAPLA 
reserve  officer  in  November,  were  under  review  by  the  JPMC  at 
year ' s  end . 


According  to  GPRA  sources,  a  former  UNITA  officer  hanged 
himself  in  Luanda's  Catete  Road  Prison  in  February;  however, 
other  sources  suggested  that  torture  was  the  cause  of  death. 

Press  accounts  in  1991  repeated  earlier  allegations  that  UNITA 
has  detained  or  executed  internal  opponents  of  Dr.  Jonas 
Savimbi,  UNITA' s  president  (see  Section  l.d.). 

b.  Disappearance 

While  both  GPRA  and  UNITA  forces  engaged  in  kidnapings  or 
clandestine  detentions  in  the  past,  there  is  no  conclusive 
evidence  that  either  engaged  in  these  practices  following  the 
cease-fire  in  May  1991.   In  1991  Luis  dos  Passos,  currently 
Secretary  General  of  the  Democratic  Renewal  Party  (PRD),  and 
another  PRD  official  returned  to  Luanda.   They  had  been  in 
hiding  outside  Luanda  since  the  failed  1977  coup  against  the 
GPRA  in  which  they  were  alleged  to  have  participated. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

There  were  persistent  allegations  that  the  GPRA's  State 
Security  Service  apparatus  continued  to  use  torture  against 
suspected  opponents.   Beatings  of  prisoners  and  detainees  by 
police  and  prison  officials  is  reportedly  common.   However,  the 
use  of  torture  and  other  mistreatment  of  prisoners  has 
reportedly  declined  since  the  Peace  Accords.   Released  FAPLA 
prisoners  have  also  alleged  that  beatings,  torture,  and 
execution  were  conducted  by  UNITA. 

The  GPRA  Ministry  of  State  Security  (MINSK)  was  formally 
abolished  by  Presidential  decree  in  December  1990,  and  many  of 
its  functions  assumed  by  the  Ministry  of  Interior. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

In  1991  the  laws  on  arrest  and  detention  appeared  to  be  in 
transition.   In  early  1991,  laws  remained  in  force  under  which 
persons  suspected  of  committing  serious  acts  against  "state 
security"  could  be  held  for  an  initial  period  of  3  months, 
renewable  for  a  further  period  of  3  months.   Such  detainees  did 
not  need  to  be  presented  to  a  judge  within  48  hours  of  their 
arrest,  as  stipulated  in  the  Code  of  Criminal  Procedures  for 
persons  suspected  of  other  crimes.   They  apparently  had  no 
right  to  challenge  the  grounds  of  their  detention.   After  6 
months,  the  State  Security  Service  had  to  inform  the  detainee 
and  the  public  prosecutor  of  the  charges  or  release  the 
suspect.   Once  the  case  was  presented  to  the  public  prosecutor, 
there  did  not  appear  to  be  a  specific  time  limit  within  which  a 
suspect  must  be  brought  to  trial. 

On  October  9,  the  National  Assembly  approved  laws  on  detention, 
investigation,  search,  and  arrests.   However,  at  the  end  of  the 
year  there  was  no  reliable  information  available  on  the  effect 
of  these  actions  and  legal  provisions,  especially  on  the 
practices  of  detention  without  charge  and  other  arrest 
procedures . 

The  number  of  political  detainees  and  criminal  and  military 
prisoners  held  by  both  sides  at  the  end  of  1990  was  estimated 
in  the  thousands.   On  February  5,  the  GPRA  released  3,983 
reportedly  UNITA  prisoners  serving  sentences  at  Bentiaba 
rehabilitation  center. 


Under  the  terms  of  the  Peace  Accords,  all  civilian  and  military 
prisoners  detained  as  a  consequence  of  the  conflict  between  the 
GPRA  and  UNITA  were  to  be  released  under  supervision  by  the 
ICRC.   In  late  July,  the  first  prisoners  on  each  side  were 
released.   As  of  December  24,  the  ICRC  had  verified  that  more 
than  900  POW s  had  been  released.   Two  POW s  are  known  to  be 
still  held  for  crimes  allegedly  committed  in  prison,  including 
murder.   As  of  the  same  date,  the  ICRC  had  registered 
approxin.ately  2,850  FAPLA  and  GPRA  civilian  personnel  detained 
by  UNITA.   Of  this  number,  almost  all  have  been  released; 
approximately  120  are  still  awaiting  ICRC  interview. 

As  in  previous  years,  reports  citing  UNITA  s  detention  of 
internal  opponents  of  UNITA  president  Savimbi  appeared  in  the 
press  in  1991.   The  emergent  Angolan  Democratic  Forum  (FDA) 
party  publicly  alleged  that  UNITA  "violated  and  constantly 
violates  human  rights,"  citing  detention  of  UNITA  members  Tito 
Chingungi  and  Wilson  dos  Santos,  among  others.   While  Chingungi 
was  seen  alive  in  the  Jamba  area  in  early  1991,  his  status  and 
that  of  others  allegedly  detained  by  UNITA  could  not  be 
independently  verified  at  year's  end. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Although  the  GPRA  Constitution  provides  for  an  independent 
judiciary,  the  judiciary  has  in  the  past  followed  MPLA-PT  party 
guidelines.   The  law  provides  for  a  public  trial  and  the  right 
of  the  accused  to  legal  counsel;  the  revised  Constitution 
provides  for  the  right  of  habeas  corpus.   There  is,  however, 
insufficient  information  to  determine  if,  or  to  what  extent, 
these  rights  are  observed  in  practice  in  regular  criminal  and 
civil  cases. 

The  deterioration  of  the  security  situation  prior  to  the 
cease-fire  exacerbated  the  general  decline  in  judicial 
safeguards  and  due  process.   Judicial  lines  of  authority  are 
unclear,  especially  since  the  GPRA's  regional  military  councils 
have  in  the  past  been  given  broad  responsibility  for  the  trial 
of  offenses  against  "state  security,"  including  "economic 
crimes."   It  is  not  known  which  trials  are  open  to  the  public 
and  under  what  rules  of  procedure  the  various  military  and 
civilian  courts  operate,  nor  to  what  extent  the  jurisdiction  of 
the  military  councils  may  in  fact  have  been  reducea,  as 
planned,  following  the  cease-fire.   A  Supreme  People's  Court, 
described  by  GPRA  President  dos  Santos  as  a  first  practical 
step  to  an  independent  judiciary,  was  established  in  April 
1990;  little  information  is  available  on  its  specific 
functions,  but  it  reportedly  handles  civil  cases  only. 

f.  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

Although  the  Constitution  provides  for  the  inviolability  of  the 
home  and  privacy  of  correspondence,  the  GPRA  has  in  the  past 
conducted  arbitrary  searches  of  homes,  inspected  private 
correspondence,  and  monitored  private  communications.   No 
recent  information  is  available  on  these  practices.   UNITA  has 
done  the  same  in  areas  it  controlled;  UNITA  has  also  forcibly 
occupied  buildings  in  some  provincial  capitals.   In  a  serious 
incident  in  December,  UNITA  supporters  forcibly  occupied  a 
hotel  and  several  other  buildings  in  Lobito;  4  people  were 
killed  and  more  than  20  wounded  when  GPRA  police  moved  in  to 
dislodge  them.   This  incident  was  successfully  resolved  by 
UNITA  and  the  GPRA  within  the  JPMC. 


g.   Use  of  Excessive  Force  and  Violations  of  Humanitarian 
Law  in  Internal  Conflicts 

During  the  initial  months  of  1991,  fighting  continued  in  many 
parts  of  Angola.   Intense  fighting  around  the  provincial 
capital  of  Luena  during  the  final  few  weeks  of  the  civil 
conflict  caused  civilian  casualties  in  the  hundreds.   On  May 
15,  a  de  facto  cease-fire  went  into  effect,  followed  by  a  de 
jure  cease-fire  on  May  31.   There  have  been  no  serious 
violations  to  date  by  the  military  of  either  side. 

In  1990  it  was  estimated  that  between  1  and  1.5  million 
civilians  had  been  internally  displaced  by  the  war,  many 
hundreds  of  thousands  located  in  drought-affected  areas. 
Credible  reports  indicate  that  the  GPRA  forcibly  displaced 
thousands  of  civilians,  in  part  to  deny  UNITA  a  social  base, 
and  that  UNITA  captured  thousands  of  civilians  and  forced  them 
to  work  on  UNITA  farms.   Following  an  attack  on  Ambriz  in  Zaire 
province  in  early  1991,  UNITA  reportedly  abducted  over  100 
local  children  to  deter  a  FAPLA  counterattack.   Both  sides 
practiced  forced  conscription  of  civilians  into  their 
respective  armies  throughout  the  war.   Conscription  has  been 
discontinued  by  both  sides. 

In  September  1990,  the  GPRA  and  UNITA  agreed  to  a  U.N.  relief 
program  to  provide  assistance  to  affected  civilians  on  both 
sides  of  the  conflict.   Amidst  mutual  recriminations,  in 
December  1990  the  GPRA  cut  off  the  relief  program  and  permitted 
it  to  resume  only  in  March  1991.   The  program  has  been  extended 
until  the  end  of  1992. 

The  GPRA  and  UNITA  placed  thousands  of  land  mines  in  footpaths 
to  agricultural  fields  during  the  civil  war  as  part  of  a 
strategy  to  deny  food  to  civilians  in  contested  areas.   Good 
cooperation  between  both  sides  on  land  mine  removal  has  been 
reported  since  the  cease-fire;  however,  rural  roads  and  fields 
remain  hazardous. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Under  the  previous  constitution,  the  right  of  free  expression 
was  protected  by  law,  but  censorship,  intimidation,  and  GPRA 
control  of  the  media  severely  limited  this  right.   The  revised 
Constitution  also  provides  for  freedom  of  expression.   In 
practice,  banners,  posters,  and  public  rhetoric  highly  critical 
of  the  GPRA  have  proliferated,  with  no  evidence  of  government 
interference  in  the  capital;  however,  UNITA  and  some  of  the 
emerging  parties  have  complained  of  government  interference  in 
other  provinces,  citing  as  an  example  GPRA  refusal  to  register 
students  who  openly  support  UNITA.   Some  emergent  parties  also 
allege  harassment  of  their  activists  in  areas  controlled  by 

The  revised  Constitution  also  guarantees  freedom  of  the  press, 
and  law  22/91  provides  the  legal  framework  by  which  periodicals 
and  publishing  companies,  as  well  as  foreign  journalists  and 
publications,  are  to  be  registered  with  the  Ministry  of 
Information.   The  establishment  of  news  agencies  is  still 
reserved  to  the  State.   However,  there  are  to  date  no 
independent  publications. 

The  government-owned  news  media  remain  heavily  influenced  by 
the  GPRA,  and  almost  always  paint  UNITA  in  a  negative  light. 


Nevertheless,  UNITA  officials  are  often  quoted 
straightforwardly  in  the  government  media,  and  increasing  air 
time  and  print  space  are  devoted  to  UNITA.   The  media  also 
report  regularly  on  third  party  activity.   Hostile  rhetoric  and 
propaganda  still  abound  on  VORGAN  (UNITA-controlled  radio, 
heard  in  Luanda)  and  the  FAPLA  Armed  Forces  Radio  Program 
"Angola  Combatente,"  despite  promises  by  both  sides  to  refrain 
from  such  practices. 

The  access  of  political  parties  to  the  electronic  media  for 
campaign  purposes  remains  a  contentious  issue;  the  JPMC 
specified  in  its  agreement  on  the  electoral  calendar  that 
modifications  to  air  time  laws  may  be  made  to  ensure 
"transparency  and  impartiality  of  the  information  media." 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  revised  Constitution  guarantees  the  right  of  peaceful 
assembly  and  association.   Law  16/91  provides  for  the  right  to 
assemble  in  public  and  in  private,  a  3-day  notification  to 
authorities,  and  penalties  for  those  who  interfere  in  lawful 
demonstrations.   The  law  bars  military,  paramilitary,  or 
militia  from  participating  in  demonstrations.   However,  the  law 
also  makes  participants  liable  for  'offenses  against  the  honor 
and  consideration  due  to  persons  and  to  the  organs  of 
sovereignty."   It  is  not  known  how  this  particular  provision  is 
being  interpreted  and  applied. 

In  practice,  the  law  appears  to  have  been  generally  respected, 
and  most  requests  for  rallies  are  routinely  granted  in  the 
capital.   Denials  appear  to  be  based  on  questions  of  public 
safety  or  timeliness  of  the  requests.   Police  broke  up  a  rally 
in  front  of  the  Luanda  port  because  demonstrators  gave  only  1 
day's  notice.    Several  pro-UNITA  demonstrations  and  others  in 
support  of  emerging  parties  have  been  held  in  Luanda.   However, 
UNITA  has  accused  the  GPRA  of  interfering  with  its  planned 
rallies  in  areas  outside  the  capital,  such  as  Cunene  and 
Lobito.   Some  emerging  parties  charged  that  they  have  not  been 
permitted  to  organize  and  to  hold  rallies  in  UNITA-controlled 
areas . 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Although  the  Constitution  provides  for  the  inviolability  of 
freedom  of  conscience  and  belief  and  for  separation  of  church 
and  state,  the  authorities  have  in  the  past  been  critical  of 
religious  activities.   Approximately  85  percent  of  the  Angolan 
population  is  either  Roman  Catholic  or  Protestant,  while  most 
of  the  remainder  practice  a  variety  of  animist  beliefs.   The 
GPRA  has  eased  its  antireligious  stance  but  has  yet  to  restore 
all  church  properties  previously  confiscated.   Church  services 
are  held  regularly  and  widely  attended.   Foreign  and  Angolan 
religious  workers  are  allowed  to  carry  out  normal  activities. 
UNITA  respects  freedom  of  religion  in  the  areas  it  controls  and 
provides  limited  administrative  support  to  both  Catholic  and 
Protestant  churches. 

The  GPRA  has  in  the  past  banned  smaller  religious  sects  that  it 
deemed  subversive,  such  as  the  Jehovah's  Witnesses  and  the 
Tocoist  Church,  founded  in  Angola  in  1949.   The  Tocoists  have  a 
syncretic  blend  of  Christian  beliefs  and  indigenous  religious 
practices.   However,  recent  information  indicates  that  the  ban 
on  the  two  sects  has  been  lifted. 


d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Until  May  1991,  travel  throughout  Angola  was  tightly  restricted 
by  war  and  by  regulations .   Under  the  terms  of  the  Peace 
Accords,  free  circulation  of  movement  and  goods  is  guaranteed. 
However,  the  GPRA  and  some  international  agencies  have  charged 
that  UNITA  has  prevented  them  from  entering  UNITA-controlled 
areas,  or  that  UNITA  requires  "visas"  for  travel  into  those 
areas  and  otherwise  obstructs  the  movement  of  people. 

Angola  currently  hosts  approximately  10,300  Zairian  refugees, 
2,000  of  which  have  registered  for  repatriation  to  Zaire. 
According  to  the  United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees 
(UNHCR),  most  of  the  more  than  1,000  South  African  refugees 
have  returned  home  on  their  own;  the  remainder  may  choose  to 
stay  in  Angola.   There  are  approximately  430,000  Angolan 
refugees  resident  in  neighboring  countries,  m.ost  of  whom  have 
been  in  refugee  status  for  many  years.   In  April  1991, 
following  fierce  fighting  in  the  Luena  area  just  prior  to  the 
cease-fire,  over  5,000  additional  refugees  fled  to  Zambia.   In 
May,  at  the  urging  of  the  GPRA,  about  600  GPRA  soldiers  were 
repatriated  without  UNHCR  screening. 

Due  to  generally  poor  living  conditions  and  danger  posed  by 
land  mines  in  their  home  areas,  most  of  the  430,000  Angolan 
refugees  resident  in  neighboring  countries  have  not  yet  begun 
returning  home  in  large  numbers.   At  year's  end,  however, 
several  thousand  Angolans  and  Zairians  had  fled  Zaire  into 
northern  Angola  in  the  wake  of  Zairian  unrest.   The  UNHCR  is 
planning  to  assist  in  the  repatriaton  of  approximately  300,000 
refugees  which  UNHCR  estimates  will  elect  to  return  home  in  the 
spring  of  1992  following  the  rainy  season. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

In  1991  citizens  still  did  not  have  this  right,  and  until  May 
all  political  activity  was  still  limited  to  participation  in 
the  MPLA-PT  or  in  one  of  its  controlled  and  sanctioned 
organizations.   Groundwork  to  enable  Angolans  to  change  their 
government  peacefully  was  laid  in  1991  by  the  revised 
Constitution,  subsequent  political  laws  on  political  parties, 
and  the  Peace  Accords.   At  year's  end,  multiparty  elections  by 
secret  ballot  for  President  and  a  representative  National 
Assembly  were  tentatively  scheduled  to  take  place  in  September 
1992.   The  new  laws  provide  for  independent  poltical  parties 
but  prohibit  regional  or  tribal  parties.   At  year's  end,  26 
parties  had  announced  their  intention  to  become  established, 
though  some  complained  they  will  have  difficulty  meeting  the 
legislated  requirements  for  registration.   By  December  the 
Democratic  Renewal  Party  (PRD)  was  awaiting  certification  of 
registration  by  the  People's  Supreme  Court,  the  Angolan 
Democratic  Party  (PDA)  had  been  denied  registration,  and  the 
Allied  Party  of  Angolan  Youth,  Workers,  and  Peasants  Party 
(PAJOCA)  had  submitted  its  application  for  registraton. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

Neither  the  GPRA  nor  UNITA  permitted  independent  local  human 
rights  groups  to  operate  in  its  respective  territory.   In  the 
past,  neither  the  GPRA  nor  UNITA  would  allow  international 
nongovernmental  human  rights  researchers  into  the  country. 


although  the  GPRA  permitted  Africa  Watch  (AW)  personnel  to 
travel  in  requested  GPRA  areas  in  late  1990  without  an  escort. 
AW  also  requested  permission  to  visit  UNITA-control led  areas; 
UNITA  agreed  in  principle,  but  travel  permits  were  not  arranged 
during  the  requested  timeframe.   The  GPRA  did  not  cooperate 
with  Amnesty  International's  request  for  information  regarding 
numbers  and  identities  of  released  prisoners  and  in  the  case  of 
one  death  in  custody. 

In  1991  the  GPRA  Defense  and  Security  Council  approved  a 
protocol  to  allow  the  ICRC  to  visit  state  security  prisoners, 
and  visits  took  place. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  Constitution  declares  that  all  citizens  are  "equal  before 
the  law  and  enjoy  the  same  rights  and  are  subject  to  the  same 
duties,  without  distinction  as  to  color,  race,  ethnic  origin, 
sex,  place  of  birth,  religion,  level  of  education  or  social  or 
economic  status."   Because  of  the  unstable  situation  which 
prevailed  in  most  of  Angola  during  much  of  the  year,  there  is 
little  information  available  on  the  existence  or  extent  of 
discrimination  on  the  basis  of  race,  sex,  religion,  language  or 
social  status.   The  number  of  .assault  cases  brought  by  women 
before  Angolan  courts  is  reportedly  increasing;  however,  there 
is  little  information  available  on  the  extent  of  violence 
against  women  in  Angola. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Until  1991  the  sole  legally  recognized  trade  union  organization 
in  GPRA-administered  Angola  was  the  National  Union  of  Angolan 
Workers  (UNTA) ,  which  was  formed  in  the  late  1950 's  as  an 
appendage  of  the  MPLA  and  became  the  ruling  party's  official 
labor  wing  after  Angolan  independence  in  1975.   The  monopoly 
position  of  the  UNTA  was  ensured  by  the  statutory  basis  of  the 
single-union  structure.   Strikes  were  illegal  and  participation 
in  strikes  punishable  by  compulsory  labor. 

The  revised  Constitution  contains  a  provision  recognizing  the 
right  of  Angolans  to  form  trade  unions  and  to  participate  in 
trade  union  activities.   New  laws  on  unions  and  collective 
bargaining  have  been  prepared  but  have  not  yet  been  published. 
By  years 's  end,  there  had  been  no  formation  of  independent 
labor  unions  as  such.   However,  free  labor  activity  increased 
as  individual  factories  and  offices  formed  their  own  workers' 

The  revised  Constitution  also  recognizes  the  right  to  strike. 
Law  No  23/91  of  June  15,  1991  provides  the  detailed  legal 
framework  for  the  right  to  strike,  including  a  prohibition  on 
lockouts,  a  prohibition  on  worker  occupation  of  employment 
premises,  and  protection  of  nonstriking  workers.   Strikes  by 
certain  workers,  including  military,  police,  prison  workers  and 
firefighters  are  prohibited,  and  strike  limitations  are  imposed 
on  workers  in  specific  sectors  affecting  infrastructure  and 
national  defense. 

In  fact,  numerous  strikes  occurred  before  and  after  the 
promulgation  of  the  new  laws.   While  there  were  reports  of 
scattered  incidents  of  violence  between  strikers  and  police  or 


strikers  and  nonstr iking  workers,  there  was  no  GPRA 
interference  with  strikers  in  the  capital,  even  in  some  cases 
in  which  strikers  did  not  rigorously  follow  the  law. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

In  1991  the  revised  Constitution  gave  Angolan  workers  the  right 
to  bargain  collectively.   As  noted  above,  new  laws  on  unions 
and  collective  bargaining  have  been  prepared  (but  not  yet 
published)  which,  inter  alia,  prohibit  discrimination  against 
union  members.   The  GPRA,  through  its  Ministry  of  Labor  and 
Social  Security,  controls  the  process  of  setting  wages  and 
benefits.   Several  significant  salary  increases  were  granted  in 
1991  as  a  result  of  negotiations  following  work  stoppages. 

There  is  no  export  processing  zone. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Previous  GPRA  legislation  authorized  compulsory  labor  for 
breaches  of  labor  discipline  and  participation  in  strikes.   On 
the  basis  of  this  legislation,  the  International  Labor 
Organization  (ILO)  in  1984  and  1990  cited  the  GPRA  for 
violations  of  ILO  Convention  105,  which  the  GPRA  ratified  in 
1976.   The  new  labor  legislation  prohibits  forced  labor. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

In  1976  the  GPRA  ratified  ILO  Convention  6  governing  night  work 
of  young  persons  and  Convention  7  regarding  the  minimum  age  for 
employment  at  sea.   The  minimum  age  for  employment  of  children 
is  16. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

In  1991  the  GPRA  established  a  new  minimum  monthly  wage.   This 
minimum  wage  by  itself  is  not  sufficient  to  support  a  family, 
and  many  depend  on  informal  sector  trade  to  ensure  a  minimal 
standard  of  living.   According  to  a  decree  issued  in  1982,  the 
normal  workweek  is  limited  to  44  hours.   The  workweek  is 
limited  to  34  hours  and  6  days  a  week  for  persons  aged  14  to 
16,  and  to  38  hours  and  7  days  a  week  for  persons  aged  16  to 
18.   This  decree  applies  to  all  state  institutions,  to  state, 
semipublic,  private,  and  cooperative  undertakings,  and  to  mass 
and  social  organizations.   No  information  is  available  on  the 
existence  or  adequacy  of  national  occupational  health  and 
safety  standards  nor  on  actual  practice  with  respect  to  any 
labor  standards. 



In  1991  the  Republic  of  Benin  peacefully  achieved  the  agenda 
established  at  the  1990  National  Reform  Conference  to  transform 
the  country  from  a  single-party,  military-dominated  regime  to  a 
multiparty  democracy.   Thirteen  presidential  candidates 
competed  in  the  first  round  of  presidential  elections  in 
March.   In  the  presidential  run-off.  Prime  Minister  Nicephore 
Soglo,  who  had  headed  the  transitional  government,  defeated 
decisively  President  Mathieu  Kerekou,  Benin's  ruler  during  its 
17  years  of  Marxist-Leninist  rule.   Official  observers  from 
several  countries  found  the  elections  free  and  fair.   Of  the  24 
political  parties  founded  after  the  1990  National  Reform 
Conference,  16  ran  candidates  in  the  February  legislative 
elections.   No  single  party  won  a  majority  of  the  64  seats,  and 
21  parties,  either  alone  or  in  alliance,  are  represented  in  the 
new  National  Assembly.   Since  its  convening  in  July,  the 
National  Assembly  has  asserted  its  constitutional  role  as  a 
check  on  the  executive  branch. 

Benin's  armed  forces  of  approximately  8,000  personnel  are  under 
the  direction  of  a  civilian  Minister  of  Defense,  while  the 
1,500-man  police  force  is  under  the  Minister  of  the  Interior. 
The  once-dominant  Beninese  military  continued  to  maintain  a  low 
profile  in  1991,  but  their  commitment  to  democratic  changes  is 
a  general  source  of  concern.   The  new  Constitution  provides  for 
members  of  the  Beninese  military,  as  well  as  civilian 
officials,  to  disobey  the  orders  of  superiors  if  obedience 
would  result  in  a  serious  violation  of  human  rights.   The  new 
Government's  goal  is  to  keep  the  armed  forces  professional  and 
depoliticized,  and  Calpinet  members  are  now  all  civilians. 

Benin's  underdeveloped  economy  is  largely  based  on  subsistence 
agriculture,  cotton  production,  regional  trade,  and  small-scale 
offshore  oil  production.   In  accordance  with  World  Bank  and 
International  Monetary  Fund  agreements,  Benin  has  undertaken  an 
austerity  program  for  the  purpose,  inter  alia,  of  privatizing 
many  state-owned  enterprises,  reducing  fiscal  expenditures,  and 
deregulating  trade.   Benin  achieved  an  unexpected  3-percent 
growth  rate  in  1991.   Nevertheless,  it  must  still  deal  with  a 
bloated  and  inefficient  bureaucracy,  high  debt-servicing 
charges,  and  widespread  unemployment,  if  development 
expectations  are  to  be  met. 

The  human  rights  situation  in  Benin  continued  to  improve 
throughout  1991.   The  transitional  government  and  the  newly 
elected  Government  respected  the  fundamental  human  rights 
provided  for  in  the  Constitution  of  December  1990.   The  new 
Constitution  includes  important  safeguards  prohibiting 
arbitrary  detention  and  making  torture  a  criminal  offense;  no 
political  detainees  or  prisoners  were  held  during  the  year. 
Several  well-known  officials  from  the  previous  regime  were 
arrested  on  charges  of  corruption.   The  head  of  the 
now-disbanded  Presidential  Guard  was  also  arrested  on  charges 
brought  against  him  by  a  Guinean  who  was  held  without  trial 
from  1982  to  1989.   At  year's  end,  none  of  those  arrested  had 
been  tried. 




Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  political  or  other  extrajudicial 
killings.   However,  there  were  isolated  instances  of  violence 
and  at  least  one  death  in  the  northern  region  in  connection 
with  the  elections  during  a  confrontation  between  supporters  of 
different  candidates.   In  late  1991,  the  trial  of  those 
arrested  and  charged  with  this  violence  was  in  process  . 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  disappearance. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  1990  Constitution  forbids  torture  and  cruel,  inhuman,  or 
degrading  treatment.   With  public  attention  focused  on  past 
incidents  and  on  bringing  to  justice  those  who  committed  acts 
of  torture  under  the  old  regime,  there  were  no  reports  of 
torture  in  1991.   Citing  the  need  for  legally  admissible 
evidence,  the  Government  has  moved  slowly  in  investigating 
persons,  primarily  members  of  the  military,  widely  believed  to 
have  committed  acts  of  torture.   Moreover,  for  reasons  that 
appear  to  arise  from  individual  considerations  rather  than  from 
fear  of  military  reprisal,  those  tortured  by  the  previous 
regime,  mainly  from  the  Communist  Party  of  Dahomey,  have  not 
instituted  legal  cases.   This  makes  it  difficult  to  bring  to 
justice  those  accused  of  torture. 

Prison  conditions  in  Benin  remained  harsh  and  characterized  by 
extensive  overcrowding  and  lack  of  sanitation  and  medical 
facilities.   The  prison  diet  is  grossly  inadequate,  and 
malnutrition  and  disease  are  common  among  prisoners. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

With  the  release  of  remaining  political  prisoners  in  1990, 
arbitrary  arrest  and  detention  ceased  to  be  practiced  by  the 
central  Government.   Procedural  safeguards  against  arbitrary 
arrest  include  a  constitutional  provision  forbidding  detention 
of  more  than  48  hours  without  a  hearing  before  a  magistrate, 
whose  order  is  required  for  continued  detention.   There  were  no 
reports  that  this  provision  was  violated,  nor  were  there 
reports  of  incommunicado  detention. 

The  1990  Constitution  contains  a  provision  prohibiting  the 
Government  from  exiling  any  Beninese  citizen,  and  exiles  have 
returned  to  Benin  in  large  numbers  since  the  change  in 
government  and  a  presidential  amnesty  decree  of  1990. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Benin's  legal  system  is  based  on  French  civil  law  and  on  local 
customary  law.   A  civilian  court  system  operates  on  the 
national  and  provincial  levels.   Military  disciplinary  councils 
deal  with  minor  offenses  by  military  members  but  have  no 
jurisdiction  over  civilians.   The  judges  in  the  civil  courts 
are  career  magistrates,  appointed  by  the  President.   Judges  are 
administratively  under  the  Ministry  of  Justice.   However,  under 



the  Constitution,  officials  are  answerable  only  to  the  law  in 
the  carrying  out  of  their  duties  and  may  not  be  removed. 
Serious  crimes  are  first  presented  to  a  magistrate  who  conducts 
an  investigation  and  decides  whether  there  is  sufficient 
evidence  to  warrant  a  trial.   Defendants  have  the  right  to  be 
present  at  their  trial  and  to  be  represented  by  an  attorney,  at 
public  expense,  if  necessary. 

Under  the  new  Constitution,  the  highest  courts  are  the 
Constitutional  Court  and  the  Supreme  Court,  the  court  of  last 
resort  in  all  administrative  and  judicial  matters.   The  role  of 
the  Constitutional  Court,  which  has  yet  to  be  actually  formed, 
is  to  pass  on  the  constitutionality  of  Beninese  laws,  and  thus 
to  act  as  the  main  judicial  counterweight  to  the  legislative 
and  executive  branches  of  government.   Until  the  Constitutional 
Court  is  seated,  its  functions  are  assumed  by  the  High  Council 
of  the  Republic,  a  transitional  body  created  under  the  National 
Reform  Conference.   The  Constitutional  Court  has  a  mandate  to 
determine  the  constitutionality  of  laws  which  may  violate 
fundamental  human  rights.   The  Constitution  also  provides  for  a 
High  Court  of  Justice — which  remained  unformed  in  1991 — to 
preside  over  cases  of  crimes  committed  against  the  nation  by 
the  President  or  members  of  the  Government.   A  number  of 
judicial  codes,  including  the  penal  code,  were  under 
consideration  before  the  Law  Committee  of  the  National  Assembly 
at  year's  end.   Interim  legislation  abrogated  certain 
unacceptable  provisions,  including  those  permitting  "People's 
judges . " 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

The  Constitution  provides  for  the  inviolability  of  private 
property  and  of  the  home.   Police  are  required  to  obtain  a 
judicial  warrant  before  entering  a  private  home.   No  violations 
of  this  requirement  were  reported  in  1991.   There  were  also  no 
reports  of  governmental  interference  with  private 
correspondence  in  1991. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  expression  and  of  the 
press  and  other  media.   These  rights  were  respected  in  1991. 
Beninese  freely  discussed  politics  in  public  and  private  forums. 

The  Government  continued  to  own  and  operate  the  most 
influential  media,  the  local  radio  and  television  stations  and 
one  daily  newspaper,  but  in  contrast  to  the  past,  official 
journalists  extended  their  coverage  of  sensitive  matters  and 
criticized  the  Government.   When  government  officials 
criticized  the  official  media's  coverage  of  politics  in  a 
neighboring  country,  the  journalists'  union  protested 
vigorously,  a  fact  in  turn  duly  reported  in  the  official 
press.   Some  20  independent  private  newspapers,  representing  a 
variety  of  viewpoints,  circulated  in  Benin  in  1991.   The  press 
and  television  aired  widely  diverging  views  on  the 
constitutional  referendum  and  reported  on  all  political 
parties,  including  the  Communist  Party  of  Dahomey,  which  had 
been  banned  under  the  previous  regime. 

There  was  no  censorship  of  foreign  books  or  artistic  works. 
Foreign  periodicals  were  widely  available  on  newsstands,  and 



much  of  the  population  listens  to  foreign  broadcasts  on 
shortwave  radio. 

In  general,  academic  freedom  is  enjoyed  in  schools  and  in  the 
sole  university.   University  professors  are  permitted  to 
lecture  freely  in  their  subject  areas,  conduct  research,  draw 
independent  conclusions,  and  form  unions. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  Constitution  recognizes  the  rights  of  peaceful  assembly  and 
association.   These  rights  were  respected  in  1991.   Multiple 
political  parties  exist,  as  do  numerous  religious  and  cultural 
organizations.   Only  political  parties  wishing  to  participate 
in  elections  need  register  with  the  Government.   In  April 
police  dispersed  and  briefly  detained  some  protesters  who  were 
demonstrating  against  the  decision  of  the  then  President 
Mathieu  Kerekou  to  run  for  reelection.   The  demonstrators  had 
declined  to  seek  a  permit  before  undertaking  to  parade  in 
central  Cotonou.   Once  the  detainees  were  brought  before  a 
magistrate,  charges  were  dropped. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Christianity,  Islam,  and  traditional  religions  coexist  in 
Benin,  and  adherence  to  a  particular  faith  does  not  confer  any 
special  status  or  benefit.   Religious  ceremonies  and  shrines  of 
all  faiths  are  protected  by  law.   There  are  no  restrictions  on 
religious  ceremonies,  teachings,  foreign  clergy,  or  conversion 
to  any  religion. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Domestic  movement  is  unrestricted.   The  Government  earlier 
dismantled  police  and  gendarmerie  roadblocks  within  the  country 
to  facilitate  free  movement,  although  a  number  of  checkpoints 
remained.   Police  checkpoints  had  reappeared  by  the  end  of  the 
year,  however.   Passports  and  exit  permits  needed  for  travel 
outside  of  West  African  countries  are  not  difficult  to  obtain. 
Emigration  is  common.   Beninese  live  and  work  in  neighboring 
countries  without  jeopardizing  their  citizenship. 

Benin  welcomes  refugees  and  helps  to  integrate  them  into 
Beninese  society  if  they  choose  not  to  return  to  their  country 
of  origin.   Refugees  who  marry  Beninese  are  entitled  to 
citizenship.   Benin's  longstanding  refugee  population  from  Chad 
declined  from  600  in  1990  to  a  few  dozen  in  1991,  reflecting 
continued  voluntary  repatriation.   At  the  end  of  1991,  a 
political  crisis  in  Togo  temporarily  brought  Togolese  refugees 
to  Benin,  an  estimated  15,000  at  its  peak.   The  United  Nations 
Development  Program  has  handled  refugee  matters  in  Benin  since 
the  office  of  the  United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees 
closed  in  1990.  > 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government. 

During  17  years  of  authoritarian,  single-party  rule,  the 
Beninese  were  unable  to  change  their  government.   The  1990 
National  Reform  Conference  and  the  subsequent  transitional 
government  laid  the  groundwork  for  the  creation  of  a  multiparty 
democracy  in  which  citizens  in  1991  peacefully  changed  their 
government  in  accordance  with  the  new  Constitution  of  December 
1990.   Legislative  and  presidential  elections  were  held  in 
February  and  March  respectively.   In  the  presidential 



elections,  13  candidates  participated;  none  achieved  an 
absolute  majority.   President  Kerekou,  who  had  brought 
authoritarian  rule  to  Benin,  and  then  Prime  Minister  Soglo,  who 
had  been  appointed  by  the  National  Reform  Conference,  contested 
a  run-off  election.   Nicephore  Soglo  won  by  a  two-to-one  margin 
in  elections  by  secret  ballot  that  foreign  observers  from  the 
United  States,  Canada,  Cote  D'lvoire,  France,  Germany,  and 
Nigeria  found  to  be  free  and  fair.   However  reluctantly, 
outgoing  President  Mathieu  Kerekou  handed  over  the  reins  of 
government  to  President  Soglo.   The  Constitution  provides  for  a 
5-year  term  for  the  President,  who  is  limited  to  two  terms  of 
office,  and  for  a  4-year  term  of  office  for  National  Assembly 
members,  who  may  serve  an  unlimited  number  of  terms. 

In  the  Assembly,  21  parties  are  represented,  with  President 
Soglo 's  alliance  holding  the  most  seats — only  12  out  of  the 
total  of  64. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

Several  Beninese  nongovernmental  organizations  monitor  human 
rights,  including  the  Human  Rights  Commission,  the  Study  and 
Research  Group  on  Democracy  and  Economic  and  Social 
Development,  the  Association  of  Christians  Against  Torture,  and 
the  League  for  the  Defense  of  Human  Rights  in  Benin.   In 
contrast  to  the  attitude  of  the  former  authoritarian 
government,  which  considered  outside  investigations  into  human 
rights  unwarranted  interference  in  Benin's  internal  affairs, 
both  the  transition  government  and  the  newly  elected  Government 
have  welcomed  international  and  nongovernmental  scrutiny  of 
human  rights  in  Benin. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status. 

Such  discrimination  is  prohibited  in  the  Constitution  and  by 
law,  and  there  is  no  evidence  of  officially  sanctioned 

Benin  has  a  long  tradition  of  regional  rivalry.   This  led  to 
violence  during  the  elections  when  northerners,  who  supported 
ex-President  Kerekou 's  candidacy,  and  southerners  clashed. 
These  clashes  were  most  severe  in  several  northern  cities  and 
led  to  at  least  one  death.   Approximately  6,000  southerners 
fled  the  north  temporarily  as  a  result.   Subsequent  to 
President  Soglo 's  election,  southerners  have  reasserted  their 
traditional  claim  to  power  and  relatively  few  northerners  have 
been  appointed  to  senior  governmental  positions.   Nor  were  any 
northerners  elected  to  leadership  positions  in  the  National 
Assembly.   The  southern  third  of  the  country,  which  was  favored 
in  the  colonial  period,  has  about  two-thirds  of  Benin's 
population  and  is  itself  divided  among  various  ethnic  and 
religious  groups. 

The  Constitution  specifically  states  that  women  are  by  law  the 
equals  of  men  in  the  political,  economic,  and  social  spheres. 
The  Government  officially  encourages  opportunities  for  women, 
and  2  of  20  cabinet  ministers  are  women.   Beninese  women  also 
play  a  major  role  in  the  commercial  sector.   In  rural  areas, 
however,  they  have  traditionally  occupied  a  subordinate  role 
and  are  responsible  for  much  of  the  subsistence  farm  labor.   In 
particular,  women  have  not  enjoyed  the  same  educational 



opportunities  as  men.   In  some  parts  of  the  country,  families 
are  reluctant  to  have  their  daughters  educated  at  all. 

While  no  studies  are  available,  violence  against  women, 
including  wife  beating,  occurs,  although  it  is  prohibited  by 
law.   Police  and  courts  are  reluctant  to  intervene  in  cases  of 
domestic  violence,  considering  such  affairs  to  be  family 
matters.   Female  circumcision  exists,  mostly  in  the  northern 
part  of  the  country.   It  is  both  deeply  rooted  in  the 
traditions  of  certain  Beninese  cultures,  and  it  is  a  source  of 
income  for  those  who  perform  the  procedure.   Efforts  of  a  small 
Beninese  nongovernmental  committee  to  reduce  the  practice 
through  educational  measures  have  thus  far  met  with  only 
limited  success.   A  conference  sponsored  by  the  U.N. 
International  Children's  Emergency  Fund  and  the  Inter-African 
Committee  on  Women's  Health  was  held  in  mid-October  to  set  up  a 
national  committee  to  address  the  situation. 

Section  6   Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

The  December  1990  Constitution  gives  workers  the  freedom  to 
organize,  to  meet,  and  to  strike.   In  1974  all  preexisting 
unions  were  absorbed  into  a  single  trade  union  center  which  for 
17  years  was  the  designated  mass  organization  of  a  single-party 
Marxist  regime.   This  heretofore  sole  center,  the  National 
Workers'  Union  of  Benin  (UNSTB)  declared  its  independence  from 
the  former  ruling  party  in  1990  and  claims  26  nationwide 
affiliated  unions  in  Benin.   The  Confederation  of  Autonomous 
Unions,  a  separate  group  formed  in  February  1991,  represents  an 
additional  23  unions,  mostly  in  the  public  sector. 
Approximately  75  percent  of  wage  earners  in  the  modern  sector 
belong  to  organized  labor  unions. 

There  were  a  number  of  strikes  in  1991  conducted  by  labor 
unions  in  the  public  sector  (teachers,  airport  workers,  civil 
servants  in  the  Ministries  of  Planning,  Finance,  Commerce, 
Industry,  Education,  and  Culture,  and  the  Public  Treasury) . 
For  the  most  part,  strikers  were  seeking  back  wages,  in  many 
cases  overdue  for  a  number  of  years.   The  Government  announced 
in  1991  that  it  would  no  longer  pay  striking  public  employees 
for  time  away  from  the  job  due  to  strikes. 

Confederations  and  individual  unions  have  the  right  to 
affiliate  with  international  labor  movements.   In  1990  the 
UNSTB  disaffiliated  from  the  Communist-dominated  World 
Federation  of  Trade  Unions. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  Beninese  Labor  Code  provides  for  collective  bargaining. 
The  Code,  which  dates  from  1967,  is  basically  copied  from  the 
French  colonial  labor  code,  but  the  Marxist  regime  ignored  many 
of  its  articles.   Individual  labor  unions  are  authorized  to 
negotiate  with  employers  on  labor  matters  and  represent 
workers'  grievances  to  both  employers  and  to  the  Government, 
with  the  Government  often  voluntarily  acting  as  arbitrator. 
The  Labor  Code  prohibits  employers  from  taking  union  membership 
or  activity  into  account  when  making  decisions  on  hiring,  work 
distribution,  professional  or  vocational  training,  or 
dismissals.   There  are  no  export  processing  zones. 



c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  prohibited  by  the  Labor  Code  and 
is  not  practiced. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  Labor  Code  prohibits  the  employment  or  apprenticeship  of 
children  under  the  age  of  18  in  any  enterprise.   However, 
enforcement  by  inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of  Labor  is 
limited,  and  child  labor  does  occur,  especially  in  rural  areas, 
where  children  below  the  age  of  14  often  work  on  family  farms. 
Some  child  labor  occurs  in  urban  areas,  primarily  in  the 
informal  sector.   For  example,  street  vendors  of  newspapers, 
smuggled  petroleum  products,  and  foodstuffs  are  frequently 
under  the  age  of  16. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Benin's  labor  force  of  about  2  million  is  primarily  engaged  in 
agriculture  (80  percent),  with  less  than  2  percent  of  the 
population  involved  in  the  modern  (wage)  sector.   Many  also 
engage  in  trade  activities  in  the  informal  sector.   For  the 
wage  sector,  the  Labor  Code  establishes  a  workweek  varying 
between  40  hours  (nonagricultural  employees)  and  56  hours 
(security  guards),  depending  on  the  type  of  work.   The 
Government  administratively  sets  minimum  wage  scales  for  a 
number  of  occupations.   Most  of  those  actually  employed  in  the 
wage  sector  earn  a  good  deal  more  than  the  lowest  minimum  wage, 
which  was  last  set  in  1984  and  is  sufficient  only  to  provide 
rudimentary  food  and  housing  for  a  family.   It  must  be 
supplemented  by  subsistence  farming  or  small  trade  in  the 
informal  sector  if  a  family  is  to  enjoy  a  decent  living.   The 
Government  supports  policies  designed  to  improve  the  conditions 
of  workers  in  both  the  agricultural  and  industrial  sectors. 
The  Labor  Code  also  establishes  health  and  safety  standards, 
but  enforcement  by  inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of  Labor  and 
Social  Affairs  is  limited. 



Botswana  is  a  multiparty  democracy.   The  Constitution  vests 
executive  power  in  the  President,  currently  Quett  Masire,  who 
was  reelected  in  1989  for  a  second  5-year  term.   The  President 
selects  his  Cabinet  from  members  of  the  National  Assembly. 
While  there  are  several  active  political  parties  in  Botswana, 
in  practice  the  country's  politics  are  dominated  by  the 
governing  Botswana  Democratic  Party  (BDP) .   All  citizens, 
regardless  of  race,  are  free  to  participate  fully  in  the 
economic  and  political  life  of  the  country. 

Botswana's  military,  the  Botswana  Defense  Force  (BDF),  numbers 
about  6,500  soldiers.   The  Botswana  National  Police  (BNP) 
numbers  about  3,000.   Both  the  BDF  and  BNP  are  subordinate  to 
civilian  authority.   Episodes  of  soldiers  firing  on  civilians 
appear  to  have  been  effectively  halted  by  new  "rules  of 
engagement"  promulgated  last  year.   The  trial  of  military 
personnel  accused  of  shooting  civilians  in  1988  and  1990 
resulted  in  the  conviction  of  one  soldier,  the  acquittal  of 
another,  and  a  $400,000  judgment  against  the  BDF. 

Botswana's  economy  is  market  oriented  with  strong  encouragement 
for  private  enterprise.   Spurred  by  diamond  revenues,  the 
country's  economy  has  expanded  rapidly,  with  real  gross 
domestic  product  (GDP)  growth  averaging  nearly  9  percent 
annually  since  1980.   Since  independence  in  1966,  per  capita 
GDP  has  increased  from  $69  to  a  current  figure  of  about 
$2,400.   However,  more  than  50  percent  of  the  population  lives 
outside  the  formal  sector,  gaining  its  livelihood  from 
subsistence  farming  and  animal  husbandry.   Income  distribution 
is  heavily  skewed,  with  the  top  20  percent  of  the  population 
probably  earning  two-thirds  of  the  total  income,  with  the 
bottom  50  percent  earning  less  than  one  sixth. 

Botswana's  laws  and  legal  system  provide  for  a  broad  range  of 
individual  rights  and  freedoms,  which  are  widely  observed  in 
practice.   However,  women  face  significant  legal  and  practical 
discrimination,  and  public  consciousness  of  the  problem  of 
violence  against  women  is  growing.   There  have  been  some  past 
reports  of  police  beatings  of  detainees,  but  none  in  1991. 
Labor  conditions  are  generally  good  given  the  level  of  economic 
development,  although  trade  unions  continue  to  face  certain 
legal  restrictions. 

Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  other  extrajudicial  killing 
There  were  no  reports  of  such  killings. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  have  been  no  reports  of  politically  motivated 
disappearances  since  Botswana's  independence  25  years  ago. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment. 

In  the  past,  there  have  been  credible  reports  of  police 
beatings  of  suspects  and  detainees,  which  were  condemned  by 
government  officials.   Police  officers  found  to  have  abused 
suspects  are  subject  to  both  internal  disciplinary  procedures 
and  criminal  prosecution. 



No  cases  have  been  reported  of  women  being  raped  or  subjected 
to  other  abuses  while  in  custody.   Arrested  women  are 
immediately  placed  in  the  charge  of  matrons,  reducing  the 
potential  for  mistreatment  by  male  police  officers. 

Caning  is  allowed  for  certain  offenses  for  men  below  age  40. 
Strict  conditions  regulate  the  size  of  the  cane,  require 
medical  examinations  of  the  prisoner  before  and  after 
punishment,  and  prescribe  strokes  only  across  the  buttocks.   A 
recent  High  Court  opinion  disallows  corporal  punishment  for 
children  below  14  which,  however,  under  the  rubric  of 
"traditional  punishment,"  can  still  be  meted  out  by  parents  and 
village  headmen. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Citizens  are  protected  from  arbitrary  arrest  under  the 
Constitution.   An  arresting  officer  must  clearly  inform  the 
person  being  arrested  of  the  charges  and  of  the  right  to  remain 
silent.   An  accused  person  may  contact  anyone  of  his  choosing. 
In  most  cases,  a  suspect  must  be  charged  before  a  magistrate 
within  48  hours  of  arrest.   Bail  is  allowed,  and  detainees  have 
the  right  to  hire  attorneys  of  their  choice.   Poor 
communications  in  rural  villages,  however,  make  it  difficult 
for  detainees  to  obtain  legal  assistance.   There  is  no  public 
defender  service  for  those  unable  to  afford  a  lawyer. 

Once  a  suspect  has  appeared  before  a  magistrate,  he  or  she  may 
be  detained  only  if  the  magistrate  issues  a  writ  of  detention, 
valid  for  14  days  and  renewable  every  14  days  thereafter. 
There  have  been  complaints,  including  in  1991,  that  police  and 
rangers  from  the  Department  of  Wildlife  have  held  people 
accused  of  poaching  longer  than  the  prescribed  48  hours. 
Offending  police  officers  have  been  administratively  punished 
or  sued  successfully  in  civil  actions. 

These  restrictions  on  detention  do  not  apply  to  illegal 
immigrants  (mostly  Zimbabweans  or  Zambians);  there  are  perhaps 
200  to  300  such  persons  per  year.   These  illegal  immigrants  are 
usually  found  in  periodic  sweeps  by  the  police  and  deported 
after  being  held  for  up  to  2  weeks.   Botswana's  Constitution 
allows  the  President  to  declare  a  person  a  "prohibited 
immigrant"  and  order  deportation,  but  this  provision  has  seldom 
been  used.   No  explanation  is  required  nor  is  any  normally 
given,  and  the  order  is  not  subject  to  judicial  review.   A 
prohibited  immigrant  can  reenter  Botswana  only  with 
presidential  authorization.   There  was  one  such  case  in  1991, 
but  the  deportee  was  not  named  publicly. 

Persons  charged  under  the  National  Security  Act  (NSA)  must  be 
arraigned  before  a  magistrate  within  96  hours,  and  suspects  may 
be  held  indefinitely.   However,  this  Act  has  rarely  been 
invoked.   Security  cases  are  often  tried  under  ordinary 
criminal  procedures  after  an  initial  hearing. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Botswana's  judiciary  is  independent  of  the  executive  and 
legislative  branches  of  government  in  both  law  and  practice. 
Botswana  has  two  court  systems,  the  regular  courts  and  the 
customary  (traditional)  courts.   In  the  regular  courts,  a 
defendant's  right  to  due  process  is  provided  for  by  law  and 
largely  honored  in  practice,  although  many  defendants  are  not 
apprised  of  their  rights  in  pretrial  or  trial  proceedings. 



Most  trials  are  held  in  public,  and  court  records  are  public. 
However,  trials  under  the  National  Security  Act  may  be  held  in 
secret.   As  a  rule,  courts  appoint  public  defenders  only  for 
those  charged  With  capital  crimes  (murder  and  treason); 
lawyers  in  these  cases  serve  on  a  no  fee  basis.   Thus,  those 
charged  with  noncapital  crimes  are  often  tried  without  legal 
representation  if  they  cannot  afford  an  attorney.   However, 
defendants  may  confront  witnesses  and  present  evidence. 

Customary  courts  usually  handle  land,  marital,  and  property 
disputes  as  well  as  minor  crimes.   There  are  clearly  defined 
appeal  procedures  with  separate  courts  of  appeal  in  both 
systems,  as  well  as  the  possibility  of  appeals  to  the  High 
Court.   Customary  courts  are  open  only  to  members  of  the  tribe 
served  by  the  particular  court.   The  tribal  chief  presides  over 
the  court,  and  there  are  no  attorneys  for  either  side. 

There  were  no  political  prisoners  reported  in  Botswana  in  1991. 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Hom.e,  or 

These  rights  are  safeguarded  by  law,  and  privacy  in  family 
matters  is  respected.   Court-issued  search  warrants  are 
required,  but  police  officers  of  the  rank  of  sergeant  and  above 
can  enter,  search,  and  seize  property  provided  they  believe  "on 
reasonable  grounds"  that  criminal  activity  is  involved,  that 
evidence  would  be  lost  or  compromised  by  waiting  for  a  warrant, 
and  that  the  evidence  is  later  brought  before  a  magistrate.   In 
practice,  this  means  that  seizures  of  property  are  frequently 
made  without  resort  to  search  warrants.   Evidence  gained 
without  a  warrant  is  admissible  in  court.   Judges  can 
disqualify  such  evidence  if  it  can  be  shown  that  it  would  not 
likely  have  been  compromised  by  taking  the  time  to  obtain  a 
proper  warrant.   There  is  no  evidence  of  arbitrary  or  illegal 
surveillance  of  persons  or  their  communications. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Freedom  of  speech  and  press  are  provided  for  in  the 
Constitution  and  respected  in  practice.   Opposition  viewpoints 
and  criticism  of  the  Government  are  freely  expressed.   However, 
both  the  government  media  and  the  independent  press  follow 
unwritten  rules  against  criticizing  senior  officials  directly 
or  discussing  the  personal  lives  or  financial  affairs  of 
important  figures. 

Although  the  Botswana  Press  Agency  (BOPA)  is  part  of  the 
Deparrment  of  Information  and  Broadcasting,  it  functions  with  a 
great  deal  of  autonomy,  and  its  editorials  do  not  always 
reflect  the  Government's  view.   The  Government's  daily 
newspaper,  m.ade  available  free  of  charge,  consists  largely  of 
reports  of  speeches  of  ministers  and  other  high  officials  and 
international  wire  service  stories. 

While  opposition  parties'  activities  receive  adequate  press 
coverage,  the  government  media  tend  to  give  more  space  to 
ruling  party  viewpoints,  and  the  independent  press  tends  to 
present  mere  balanced  coverage.   In  the  past,  the  Government 
has  clashed  with  the  independent  press  over  the  proper 
reporting  of  national  security  issues.   Books  and  publications 
are  not  censored.   Academic  freedom  is  fully  respected. 



although  a  proposed  new  law  would  restrict  the  right  of 
university  students  to  conduct  protests  on  campus. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Botswana  has  a  long  history  of  peaceful  assembly  which  is 
integral  to  traditional  village  life  and  is  exemplified  in  the 
village  meeting,  the  kgotla.   During  kgotla  meetings,  men 
freely  question  leaders  and  voice  opinions  on  local  politics. 
Women  do  not  typically  speak  out  at  kgotla.   Permits  are 
required  for  public  meetings  and  demonstrations  and  are  usually 
granted  as  long  as  the  police  believe  public  order  will  be 
maintained . 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Freedom  of  religion  is  guaranteed.   There  is  no  state  religion, 
although  the  majority  of  the  population  identify  with  some 
denomination  of  Christianity.   Hindu,  Muslim,  and  Baha'i  groups 
practice  their  faiths  freely.   There  are  no  restrictions  on 
places  of  worship,  the  training  of  members  of  clergy,  religious 
publishing,  religious  education,  conversion  or  participation  in 
charitable  activity.   There  are  no  restrictions  against 
missionaries  or  foreign  clergy.   There  is  no  discrimination 
based  on  religion. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Botswana  has  no  restrictions  on  movement  within  the  country, 
foreign  travel,  emigration,  or  the  right  to  return.   Passports 
are  easily  obtained. 

Refugees  documented  by  the  United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for 
Refugees  (UNHCR)  are  readily  accepted  into  Botswana  but  are 
normally  required  to  live  in  the  refugee  settlement  at  Dukwe, 
in  northeastern  Botswana,  although  the  Government  may  authorize 
them  to  live  elsewhere.   Due  to  past  allegations  from 
neighboring  countries  that  refugees  were  using  Botswana  as  a 
launching  area  for  subversive  operations  beyond  Botswana's 
borders,  refugees  found  out  of  their  authorized  living  areas 
can  be  declared  by  the  Government  to  have  abandoned  their 
refugee  status  and  be  deported  to  neighboring  countries. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Batswana  have  the  right  to  peacefully  change  their  government 
through  democratic  means,  although  in  practice  one  party,  the 
Botswana  Democratic  Party  (BDP),  has  dominated  Parliament  since 
independence  25  years  ago.   Members  of  Parliament  are  elected 
by  universal  suffrage  and  secret  ballot;  the  President  is 
elected  by  the  Parliament.   Thirty-four  of  the  38  members  of 
the  National  Assembly  are  elected  every  5  years;   the  remaining 
4  are  appointed  by  the  President.   In  the  1989  elections,  the 
BDP  won  31  of  the  34  elective  seats.   There  are  currently  eight 
active  political  parties,  but  only  two,  the  BDP  and  Botswana 
National  Front  (BNF)  are  represented  in  Parliament. 

Women  and  minorities  legally  have  the  same  political  rights  as 
everyone  else.   Even  though  the  traditional  patriarchal  society 
has  discouraged  women  from  taking  part  in  politics,  women  vote 
in  greater  numbers  than  men,  and  the  number  of  positions  held 
by  women  in  various  institutions  is  increasing.   Women  hold 



about  40  percent  of  the  seats  in  local  and  district  councils, 
and  there  are  two  women  in  Parliament,  one  of  whom  is  the 
Minister  of  External  Affairs.   There  are  a  number  of  female 
senior  lecturers  at  the  university,  but  as  yet  few  females  of 
professorial  rank. 

Section  4   Government  Attitude  Toward  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

Local  human  rights  groups  operate  freely.   Organized  in  1989, 
the  Botswana  Association  for  Human  Rights  expects  its  official 
registration  as  a  nonprofit  organization  to  be  completed  by  the 
end  of  the  year.   The  goals  of  the  association  are  to  focus 
national  attention  on  laws  needing  reform,  to  make 
recommendations  to  the  National  Law  Reform  Committee,  to 
heighten  public  awareness  about  human  rights,  and  to  pressure 
the  Government  to  ratify  more  of  the  existing  international 
human  rights  instruments.   Independent  organizations  dealing 
with  the  rights  of  women  and  rural  dwellers  also  exist. 

The  Government  also  permits  international  organizations 
involved  in  human  rights  advocacy  to  operate  in  Botswana, 
including  the  International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross,  the 
UNHCR,  the  International  Labor  Organization  (ILO),  and  others. 
To  date,  there  have  been  no  international  investigations  of 
human  rights  violations  in  Botswana.   The  Government  has  stated 
that  it  would  cooperate  if  there  were  such  an  investigation. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  Tswana  majority,  comprising  about  65  percent  of  the 
population,  has  a  tradition  of  peacefully  coexisting  with  the 
largest  minority,  the  Kalanga,  which  constitutes  25  percent  of 
the  population.   Although  ethnic  rivalries  are  not  entirely 
absent,  no  ethnic  group  suffers  from  serious  discrimination. 
The  most  prominent  complaint  comes  from  the  Government's 
refusal  to  allow  instruction  in  minority  languages  in  schools. 
Groups  living  in  remote  areas,  including  the  Kgalagadi  and  the 
San  (the  Bushmen),  have  suffered  discrimination  in  the  past  in 
access  to  government  services  and  legal  redress,  partly  because 
of  their  distance  from  settled  areas  and  their  nomadic 
lifestyle.   They  are  still  poorly  represented  in  politics,  but 
some  are  being  resettled  and  are  gaining  better  access  to 
government  services. 

The  Constitution  and  Penal  Code  forbid  discrimination  based  on 
color,  race,  nationality  or  creed  but  do  not  mention 
discrimination  based  on  sex.   However,  a  number  of  laws  and 
customs  have  the  effect  of  restricting  political,  social,  and 
economic  opportunities  for  women.   For  example,  women  married 
under  the  "in  common  property"  concept  become  legal  minors. 
This  means  that  a  married  woman  may  not  purchase  or  sell 
property  or  make  other  legally  binding  agreements  without  her 
husband's  consent.   While  a  woman  may  enter  a  binding 
transaction  as  a  public  trader,  she  may  become  a  trader  only  7 
with  her  husband's  consent.   Under  customary  law  a  husband  may 
have  additional  wives  after  consulting  with  his  first  wife  and 
the  families,  although  this  practice  is  dying  out. 

Marriage  license  applications  are  increasingly  accompanied  by 
explanations  of  marriage  "out  of  common  property"  under  which  a 
woman  retains  the  property  she  brings  to  a  marriage  as  well  as 



full  adult  legal  standing  after  marriage.   Although  frowned 
upon  by  more  traditional  families,  these  marriages  are 
increasingly  common. 

A  woman  is  required  to  obtain  her  husband's  permission  for  the 
use  of  contraceptives  or  for  operations  to  prevent  conception. 
Under  1991  legislation,  abortion  is  allowed  in  cases  of  rape, 
incest,  when  the  physical  or  mental  health  of  a  mother  is 
threatened,  or  when  a  child  will  suffer  grave  physical  or 
mental  abnormalities.   Two  physicians  must  agree  that  the 
health  of  the  mother  or  child  is  threatened.   If  the  health  of 
a  married  couple's  child  is  at  risk,  or  the  mother  is  an  unwed 
minor,  abortion  is  a  family  decision.   Otherwise,  the  law  does 
not  require  the  consent  of  the  husband  or  father. 

The  Attorney  General  maintains  that  women  have  no  legal 
recourse  in  sex  discrimination  cases.   However,  the  recent  case 
of  a  female  attorney  who  challenged  the  Citizenship  Act  on 
discrimination  grounds  was  decided  in  favor  of  the  plaintiff. 
She  held  that  the  law  discriminated  against  her  by  preventing 
her  from  transmitting  Botswana  citizenship  to  her  children 
since  her  husband,  the  children's  father,  was  not  a  Botswana 
citizen.   The  State  has  appealed  the  case,  arguing  that  the 
authors  of  the  Constitution  did  not  intend  to  outlaw 
discrimination  based  on  sex.   A  long  list  of  laws  would  have  to 
be  changed  if  the  decision  stands. 

Inheritance  laws  and  customs  call  for  each  child  to  receive  a 
share  of  an  estate  regardless  of  sex.   The  oldest  male  child 
receives  a  larger  share  but  is  responsible  for  his  widowed 
mother  and  minor  siblings. 

Domestic  violence  against  women  is  on  the  increase  as  Botswana 
society  becomes  more  urban  and  people  live  away  from  constant 
contact  with  the  extended  family.   Men  have  traditionally  had 
the  right  physically  to  "chastise"  their  wives,  although  this 
is  changing.   Since  marital  problems  are  considered  a  problem 
to  be  dealt  with  between  husband  and  wife,  the  police  are 
reluctant  to  intervene.   Problems  are  still  frequently  settled 
by  the  extended  family,  with  fully  75  percent  of  the  cases  of 
domestic  violence  brought  to  police  attention  withdrawn  because 
of  family  pressure.   As  a  conseqence  of  these  factors,  no 
accurate  statistics  exist  on  the  extent  of  domestic  violence. 

The  incidence  of  rape  has  grown,  with  increased  depersonalized 
urbanization  as  a  major  factor,  although  increased  reporting 
should  not  be  discounted.   The  maximum  penalty  is  life 
imprisonment  with  mandatory  corporal  punishment;  the  average 
sentence  is  4  years  with  corporal  punishment.   A  form  of  female 
circumcision  exists  in  Botswana,  but  it  is  rarely  performed  and 
only  by  a  few  traditional  doctors. 

Concerted  government  action  to  improve  the  status  of  women  has 
been  slow  in  coming.   In  .1981  the  Ministry  of  Home  Affairs 
established  a  women's  affairs  unit  which  published  a  woman's 
guide  to  the  law  and  information  on  the  citizenship  law.   It 
has  also  done  research  on  such  subjects  as  maternity  leave  and 
teenage  pregnancy.   The  majority  party  (the  BDP)  established  a 
women's  wing  to  focus  on  women's  issues  in  1987. 

There  is  no  evidence  of  particular  jobs  being  reserved  for 
men.   Wom.en  are  highly  visible  in  the  professions,  commerce, 
and  as  laborers,  and  women's  organizations  are  growing  in 
number.   The  most  active  group  is  Emang  Basadi,  which  seeks  to 



educate  women  about  their  rights,  argues  for  the  enforcement  of 
fathers'  obligations  to  support  their  children,  and  argues  for 
day  care  in  institutions  that  employ  large  numbers  of  women, 
like  the  National  University  and  banks.   In  addition,  numerous 
local  women's  groups  are  organized  for  self-help. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  (except  for  pensionable  government  workers)  are  free  to 
establish  or  join  labor  unions.   Government  workers  may  form 
associations  which  function  as  quasi-unions .   Unions  are  well 
developed  in  mining,  railways,  banking,  and  among  government 
manual  workers.   There  is  one  major  confederation  of  trade 
unions,  the  Botswana  Federation  of  Trade  Unions  (BFTU).   Trade 
unions  in  Botswana  are  independent  of  government  control  or 
party  affiliation  and  actively  seek  to  represent  their  members' 
interests.   Unions  may  employ  administrative  staff,  but 
Botswana  law  requires  elected  union  officials  to  work  full  time 
in  the  industry  the  union  represents.   This  severely  limits 
union  leaders'  effectiveness  and  has  been  criticized  by  the 
International  Confederation  of  Free  Trade  Unions  (ICFTU). 

In  addition,  the  law  severely  restricts  the  right  to  strike. 
Legal  strikes  are  theoretically  possible  after  an  exhaustive 
arbitration  process,  but  there  has  never  been  a  legal  strike. 
There  were  three  notable  wildcat  strikes  in  1991  in  the  mining 
sector.   Management  maintained  that  all  three  were  illegal,  and 
all  were  settled  peacefully  (but  with  few  gains  for  the 
strikers).   In  November  unskilled  and  semiskilled  government 
workers  struck  for  1  week  over  long-standing  wage  demands.   All 
workers  returned  to  their  jobs  without  winning  salary 
increases,  and  the  Government  is  pursuing  legal  actions  against 
the  strike  organizers  for  not  following  procedures  stipulated 
by  the  Labor  Code. 

Unions  may  freely  join  international  organizations,  and  labor 
representatives  regularly  attend  international  conferences. 

Discussions  continued  in  1991  between  government,  employers, 
and  trade  unions  over  reform  of  labor  laws.   Unions  say  that 
elected  officials  should  be  able  to  serve  members'  needs  full 
time.   Unions  are  also  asking  for  severance  pay  greater  than 
the  usual  2  months'  pay.   Finally,  unions  want  restrictions  on 
the  Labor  Commissioner's  right  to  attend  BFTU  meetings. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Although  employers  are  required  under  the  Trade  Union  Act  to 
bargain  with  any  trade  union  that  organizes  at  least  25  percent 
of  the  work  force  in  a  given  industry,  the  union's  ability  to 
demand  collective  bargaining  depends  on  its  overall  strength. 
Collective  bargaining  is  common  in  the  mining  sector,  where 
trade  unions  are  relatively  strong,  but  is  virtually 
nonexistent  in  most  others. 

Public  sector  salaries  are  set  by  the  Government  and  formerly 
served  as  a  benchmark  for  private  sector  wages.   However, 
Parliament  voided  that  policy  in  1990,  and  pay  raises  and 
inflation  indexing  must  now  be  negotiated  separately  in  the 
private  sector.   In  early  1991  government  employees  received 
raises  ranging  from  13  percent  at  the  lowest  levels  to  90 
percent  at  executive  levels. 



Although  the  law  prohibits  employers  from  dismissing  workers 
for  union  activities,  there  is  disagreement  over  how  well  they 
are  enforced.   Other  reasons  are  often  given  for  dismissals  so 
it  is  difficult  for  dismissed  employees  to  prove  that  union 
activities  were  the  real  reason.   Dismissals  may  be  appealed  to 
labor  officers  or  civil  courts,  but  labor  officers  rarely  do 
much  more  than  order  2  months'  severance  pay.   Labor  law 
practice  in  Botswana's  only  export  processing  zone,  in 
Selebi-Phikwe,  is  the  same  as  in  the  rest  of  the  country. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  not  practiced  in  Botswana  and  is 
specifically  forbidden  by  the  Constitution. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

Botswana  law  prohibits  the  employment  of  children  12  years  of 
age  and  under  by  anyone  except  members  of  the  child's  immediate 
family.   No  one  under  the  age  of  15  may  be  employed  in  any 
industry,  and  only  persons  over  16  may  be  employed  in  night 
work.   No  person  16  or  younger  is  permitted  to  work  in 
hazardous  jobs,  including  mining.   Botswana  law  also  protects 
young  people  from  recruiters  for  jobs  outside  the  country. 
Scattered  violations  of  age  standards  occur  in  small-scale  and 
family  enterprises  and  in  the  informal  sector.   The  Department 
of  Labor  is  insufficiently  staffed  to  enforce  full  compliance. 
Although  education  is  not  compulsory,  it  is  almost  universally 
available,  and  most  children  attend  school  at  least  through  the 
seventh  grade.   The  Government  is  rapidly  making  9  years  of 
free  public  education  universally  available. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimum  monthly  wages  are  established  by  law  for  all  but 
agricultural  and  domestic  workers.   The  level  varies  by 
industry,  and  the  lowest  minimum  is  barely  adequate  for  one 
person  to  maintain  a  decent  standard  of  living  in  an  urban 
environment.   In  most  cases,  workers  must  supplement  this  with 
a  second  job  or  subsistence  farming.   Most  families  have  more 
than  one  wage  earner . 

The  law  mandates  a  maximum  48-hour  workweek  with  provisions  for 
overtime  pay  (time  and  a  half)  for  more  than  48  hours.   Most 
major  employers  use  the  standard  workweek,  but  some  smaller 
firms  refuse  to  pay  overtime,  and  action  is  seldom  taken 
against  them.   The  Government  establishes  basic  job  health  and 
safety  standards.   Most  industries  adhere  to  the  standards, 
although  compliance  by  construction  firms  is  sometimes  lax. 
Nevertheless,  industrial  accident  rates  are  not  high  on  the 
whole.   While  workers  who  complain  about  hazardous  conditions 
have  legal  protection  from  dismissal,  application  of  this 
enforcement  has  been  uneven.   Enforcement  of  safety  standards, 
which  is  divided  between  the  Departments  of  Labor  and  Mines  and 
the  Ministry  of  Health,  has  been  hampered  by  inadequate 



In  1991  Burkina  Faso  remained  under  the  rule  of  President 
Blaise  Compaore,  who  toppled  Thomas  Sankara  on  October  15, 
1987,  in  the  country's  fourth  military  coup  since  1980.   In 
June  1990,  President  Compaore  began  a  carefully  controlled 
process  of  government  restructuring  and  reform,  legalizing 
opposition  parties  and  independent  media  but  dictating 
arrangements  for  the  transition  to  multiparty  elections.   A  new 
Constitution,  approved  by  referendum  in  June  1991,  contains 
provisions  which,  if  fully  implemented,  would  provide  citizens 
a  wide  range  of  civil  and  political  rights.   Opposition  groups 
originally  participated  in  a  broad-based  transitional 
government  but  withdrew  when  the  President  refused  to  accept  a 
national  conference  or  to  negotiate  changes  in  arrangements  for 
the  presidential  elections  on  December  1.   The  opposition 
refused  to  participate  in  the  elections,  and  only  an  estimated 
25  percent  of  the  registered  electorate  turned  out  to  vote, 
thus  denying  Compaore  the  mandate  he  sought .   In  the  aftermath 
of  that  vote,  opposition  activist  Clement  Ouedraogo  was  killed 
in  a  grenade  attack,  and  another  opposition  member,  Moctar 
Tall,  was  seriously  injured  in  a  separate  attack.   Many 
Burkinabe  believed  the  Government  was  responsible  for  the 
attacks . 

Burkina  Faso's  security  apparatus  consists  of  the  armed  forces, 
the  paramilitary  gendarmerie,  and  the  police,  all  controlled  by 
the  Ministry  of  Defense.   Although  the  situation  improved  from 
previous  years,  elements  of  the  security  services,  used  for 
police  duties,  were  responsible  for  human  rights  abuses  in 
1991,  including  mistreatment  of  detainees. 

Burkina  Faso  is  overwhelmingly  dependent  on  subsistence 
agriculture  which,  in  turn,  is  highly  vulnerable  to  variable 
rainfall.   Frequent  drought,  weak  communications  and 
transportation  infrastructure,  and  a  low  literacy  rate  are  all 
longstanding  problems.   Per  capita  income  is  approximately  $300 
a  year.   In  March  the  Government  reached  agreement  with  the 
World  Bank  and  the  International  Monetary  Fund  on  a  3-year 
structural  adjustment  program.   This  program  aims  to  open  the 
economy  to  free  market  forces,  promote  privatization,  and 
attract  foreign  investment. 

The  Government  instituted  some  limited  human  rights 
improvements  in  1991,  most  notably  in  releasing  two  groups  of 
political  detainees:   those  implicated  in  a  December  1989  coup 
attempt  and  students  arrested  during  protests  at  the  University 
of  Ouagadougou  in  May  1990.   On  July  25,  President  Compaore 
declared  a  general  amnesty  pardoning  those  found  guilty  of 
political  offenses  since  the  country's  independence  and 
restoring  their  civil  rights.   The  appearance  of  privately 
owned  newspapers  stimulated  critical  discussion  of  reform. 
However,  these  developments  were  clouded  by  the  Government's 
intimidation  of  political  opponents  and  local  human  rights 
activists  and  by  the  assassination  of  Clement  Ouedraogo. 


Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

In  addition  to  the  assassination  of  Clement  Ouedraogo  and  the 
attempt  on  the  life  of  Moctar  Tall,  there  were  two  apparent, 
but  unconfirmed,  extrajudicial  killings.   Professor  Guillaume 



Sessouma,  detained  in  December  1989  for  allegedly  participating 
in  a  coup  plot,  and  medical  student  Dabo  Boukary,  detained 
following  student  demonstrations  in  May  1990,  were  reportedly 
killed  while  in  detention  by  members  of  the  paramilitary 
gendarmerie.   Government  officials  continue  to  insist  that  the 
two  escaped  to  Ghana.   According  to  informed  sources,  however, 
both  men  were  tortured  and  killed  shortly  after  their  arrest. 
The  Burkinabe  Movement  for  the  Rights  of  Man  and  Peoples 
(MBDHP)  continues  to  pressure  the  Government  to  account  for 
both  disappearances. 

b.  Disappearance 

Initial  reports  indicated  that  a  number  of  protestors  were 
missing  after  an  attack  by  supporters  of  President  Compaore's 
Organization  for  Popular  Democracy  (ODP/MT)  on  a  peaceful 
opposition  rally  and  march  on  September  30.   However,  these 
allegations  have  never  been  confirmed  and  appear  to  have 
resulted  from  the  confusion  of  the  moment.   An  estimated  100 
persons  were  injured  in  the  incident. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

While  legally  prohibited,  torture  and  mistreatment  of  detainees 
have  been  documented  for  a  number  of  years,  and  no  known 
disciplinary  action  has  been  taken  against  those  responsible. 
The  most  recent  manifestation  of  the  problem  occurred  in 
Bobo-Dioulasso,  where  those  taken  into  custody  following  an 
election  day  riot  on  December  1  were  tortured  before  being 
turned  over  to  the  police.   After  Burkina's  two  local  human 
rights  groups  (see  Section  4)  protested  these  actions,  those 
detained  were  released,  and  no  further  allegations  of 
mistreatment  were  made. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Since  the  June  adoption  of  the  Constitution,  which  provides  for 
the  right  to  expeditious  arraignment  and  access  to  legal 
counsel,  there  have  been  no  known  cases  of  prolonged  arbitrary 
arrest  or  detention.   The  law  permits  detention  for 
investigative  purposes  without  charge  for  a  maximum  of  72 
hours,  renewable  for  a  single  72-hour  period.   In  practice, 
this  limitation  is  rarely  observed,  particularly  in  sensitive 
cases.   The  military  code  takes  precedence  over  the  civil  code 
in  national  security  cases. 

Prior  to  the  controlled  reform  process,  the  Compaore  regime 
held  in  custody  a  large  number  of  its  opponents  who  were 
allegedly  implicated  in  two  1989  coup  plots.   In  1991  the 
Government  released  these  persons,  without  ever  bringing  them 
to  trial.   Some  opposition  supporters  were  detained  by 
authorities  after  opposition  marches  on  September  30  and 
October  29,  and  after  the  December  1  Bobo  Dioulasso  riot,  but 
they  were  released  following  demarches  by  local  human  rights 
organizations . 

Though  some  intellectuals,  military  officers,  and  former 
government  officials  remain  in  self-imposed  exile  abroad,  a 
number  have  repatriated  themselves  since  the  beginning  of  the 
country's  reform  process.   On  September  4,  a  prominent  exile. 
Professor  Joseph  Ki-Zerbo,  returned  to  Burkina  Faso  after  8 
years  in  Senegal  and  France.   Earlier  in  the  year.  Captain 
Boukary  Kabore  returned  to  Burkina  Faso  from  Ghana,  following  4 
years  of  exile.   Kabore,  who  headed  the  Koudougou  military 



encampment,  was  the  only  military  leader  to  oppose  then  Captain 
Compaore's  overthrow  of  Captain  Thomas  Sankara  in  1987. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  Constitution  guarantees  the  right  to  public  trial,  access 
to  counsel,  and  appeal.   These  rights  are  respected  in  the 
normal  court  system  but  do  not  exist  in  the  People's 
Revolutionary  Courts  (TPR's),  the  politicized  tribunals 
established  following  the  1983  revolution  to  judge  former 
government  officials  on  corruption  and  other  charges.   The 
TPR's  were  inactive  after  the  Constitution's  promulgation, 
although  not  officially  abolished  by  the  end  of  1991. 

In  1991  the  Government  restored  the  civil  rights  of  those 
convicted  of  political  offenses.   The  July  general  amnesty, 
however,  pardoned  only  those  convicted  of  political  crimes,  not 
those  convicted  of  other  offenses  by  the  country's  politicized 
TPR's.   At  year's  end,  a  separate  process  was  established 
whereby  these  convictions  could  be  appealed. 

Military  courts  exercise  jurisdiction  in  security  and  political 
cases  and  are  convened  on  an  ad  hoc  basis.   They  are  subject  to 
flexible  procedures  and  executive  influence.   As  a  result, 
there  have  been  growing  public  pressures  to  revise  the  military 
legal  code. 

f.  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

Government  authorities  generally  do  not  interfere  in  the  daily 
lives  of  ordinary  citizens,  but  monitoring  of  private 
correspondence  or  telephones  does  occur  in  suspected  national 
security  cases.   Under  the  law,  homes  may  be  searched  only 
under  the  authority  of  a  warrant  issued  by  the  Minister  of 
Justice.   In  national  security  cases,  however,  a  special  law 
permits  surveillance,  searches,  and  monitoring  of  telephones 
and  correspondence  without  a  warrant.   Vestiges  of  President 
Compaore's  old  Popular  Front  government  and  its  infrastructure, 
including  local  revolutionary  committees,  continued  to  play  an 
active  role  on  the  local  scene  in  1991.   Though  formally 
separated  from  the  State,  these  organizations  exercised  an 
intimidating  role  in  Burkinabe  towns  and  villages. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Although  freedoms  of  speech  and  press  increased  in  1991,  the 
Government  still  employed  certain  tactics  of  intimidation  to 
limit  individual  expression  and  criticism  of  government 
policies,  e.g.,  the  use  of  force  on  September  30. 

The  information  code  of  1990  established  the  right  of  private 
publication  for  the  first  time  since  1987.   The  code  requires 
that  this  right  be  exercised  with  "strict  respect"  for  cultural 
and  moral  values  and  the  political  orientation  of  Burkina 
Faso.   Thus,  it  gives  the  Government  wide  latitude  of 
interpretation.   However,  the  four  independent  newspapers  and 
Radio  Horizon,  a  private  radio  station  in  Ouagadougou,  operated 
free  of  government  intervention  in  1991.   L ' Observateur  Paalga, 
one  of  the  new  independent  newspapers,  soon  became  the 
country's  largest  selling  newspaper.   The  same  pattern  held 
with,  Radio  Horizon,  which,  within  a  few  weeks,  dominated  the 
market.   The  official  government  newspaper,  Sidwaya,  and  radio 



Station,  Radio  Burkina,  display  a  lingering  pro-ODP/MT  bias, 
and  the  official  press  organs  remain  selective  in  their 
reporting.   Yet,  the  presence  of  the  independent  competition, 
especially  from  L 'Observateur ,  has  led  the  official  media  to 
give  more  coverage  of  events  sponsored  by  independent 
organizations  and  opposition  parties  critical  of  government 
policies . 

In  general,  foreign  newspapers  and  magazines  entered  the 
country  freely  in  1991.   Certain  issues  of  international 
periodicals  containing  articles  critical  of  the  Government  were 
intercepted  upon  reaching  the  country.   In  1991  foreign 
journalists  traveled  freely,  filed  stories  without  censorship, 
and  enjoyed  access  to  government  officials.   There  is  no 
interference  with  international  radio  broadcasts. 

Although  academic  freedoms  have  been  limited  in  the  past,  it 
remained  unclear  in  1991  whether  the  Constitution  would  protect 
academic  freedoms  more  effectively  than  did  previous 
legislation.   The  Government  permitted  those  students  released 
from  detention  to  reenter  the  university. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Since  early  1990,  political  parties  have  been  permitted  to 
organize  and  hold  meetings.   Parties  still  must  seek  government 
permission  for  their  rallies,  although  such  permission  was 
generally  granted  automatically  in  1991.   More  than  50 
political  parties  existed  in  Burkina  at  the  end  of  1991. 

An  increasing  cycle  of  violence  characterized  Burkinabe 
politics  prior  to  the  boycotted  presidential  election,  in  an 
apparent  attempt  by  hardliners  to  intimidate  the  opposition. 
Armed  supporters  of  President  Compaore  and  his  ODP/MT  attacked 
a  peaceful  opposition  march  on  September  30,  and  widespread 
vandalism  followed  the  police  breakup  of  an  opposition  march  on 
October  29.   Unidentified  assailants  attacked  the  homes  of 
prominent  opposition  leaders  repeatedly  in  October  and 
November,  using  Molotov  cocktails  and  machine  guns.   In 
separate  ambushes  shortly  after  the  election,  one  opposition 
leader,  Clement  Ouedraogo,  was  killed  and  another,  Moctar  Tall, 
was  seriously  wounded. 

Credible  reports  indicate  the  Government  discharged  some  civil 
servants  who  took  part  in  opposition  activities  and  warned 
businessmen  against  supporting  the  opposition  at  the  risk  of 
losing  government  contracts  and  facing  other  harassment. 

Nonpolitical  associations  for  business,  religious,  cultural, 
and  other  purposes  exist  and  experience  no  difficulty  in 
obtaining  permission  to  meet  or  associate  with  international 
associations  in  their  fields. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Burkina  Faso  is  a  secular  state,  and  Islam  and  Christianity 
exist  side  by  side,  with  about  40  percent  of  the  population 
Muslim  and  about  15  percent  Christian.   The  remainder  of  the 
population  practices  traditional  African  religions.   Muslim  and 
Christian  holidays  are  recognized  as  national  holidays.   Social 
mobility  and  access  to  modern  sector  jobs  are  neither  linked 
to,  nor  restricted  by,  religious  affiliations. 



d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Travelers  within  Burkina  Faso  are  routinely  stopped  for 
identity  checks  at  police  and  military  checkpoints.   There  is 
little  restriction  on  foreign  travel  for  business  and  tourism. 
Exit  permits  are  no  longer  required.   Refugees  are  accepted 
freely  in  Burkina  Faso,  and  attempts  are  made  to  provide  for 
their  care  in  cooperation  with  the  United  Nations  High 
Commissioner  for  Refugees.   At  the  end  of  1991,  there  were 
approximately  186  refugees  and  displaced  persons  in  Burkina 
Faso,  mainly  from  Chad  and  Liberia. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

In  1991  citizens  still  did  not  have  the  right  to  change  their 
government,  but  pressures  for  change  continued.   The  program  of 
reform,  carefully  controlled  by  President  Compaore  since  its 
inception,  suffered  a  setback  following  persistent  intimidation 
of  the  opposition  (see  Section  2.b.)  and  the  failure  of  the 
Government  and  the  opposition  to  agree  on  modalities  for  the 
presidential  election  on  December  1.   Opposition  parties  sought 
a  national  conference  with  authority  to  govern  as  a 
precondition  for  their  participation.   When  the  President 
demurred,  the  opposition  parties  boycotted  the  legislative  and 
presidential  elections.   Running  unopposed.  President  Compaore 
received  86  percent  of  the  ballots,  but  75  percent  of  the 
electorate  abstained  from  voting. 

Following  the  presidential  election  and  the  subsequent 
assassination  of  prominent  opposition  leader  Clement  Ouedraogo, 
President  Compaore  moved  to  compromise  with  the  opposition.   He 
delayed  the  legislative  elections  in  order  to  allow  the 
opoposition  to  abandon  its  boycott  and  accepted  the  principle 
of  a  "national  forum  of  reconciliation."   At  the  end  of  1991, 
no  date  for  the  forum  had  been  set.   The  opposition  made 
government  assurance  of  its  security  a  precondition  for 
continued  participation  in  negotiations  on  Burkina's  future. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government's  response  to  demarches  by  local  human  rights 
groups  has  been  mixed.   The  Government  has  continued  to 
tolerate  the  activities  of  the  Burkinabe  Movement  for  the 
Rights  of  Man  and  Peoples  (MBDHP),  and,  after  protests  by  the 
MBDHP  and  the  other  local  human  rights  group,  it  released 
opposition  supporters  detained  following  election-day  riots  in 
Bobo  Dioulasso.   However,  it  has  studiously  ignored  MBDHP 
demands  to  account  for  the  deaths  of  Boukary  Dabo  and  Guillaume 
Sessouma.   The  MBDHP  is  an  independent  group,  composed  mostly 
of  professionals,  led  by  the  President  of  the  Administrative 
Chamber  of  the  High  Court.   The  MBDHP  has  organized  forums  on 
constitutional  and  human  rights  issues  at  which  discussion  has 
been  impressively  free  and  open;  it  also  publishes  a  quarterly 
journal.   The  government  press,  however,  still  ignores  certain 
MBDHP  activities,  an  issue  the  Movement  raised  with  the. 
Minister  of  Information  in  late  September.   By  that  time,  the 
MBDHP  had  established  local  chapters  in  25  of  Burkina's  30 
provinces.   As  yet,  MBDHP  members  do  not  appear  to  have  been 
targeted  for  reprisal,  although  the  car  of  Movement  president 
Alidou  Ouedraogo  was  burned  on  September  30,  1991,  during  an 


attack  by  ODP/MT  supporters  on  the  headquarters  of  the  National 
Convention  of  Progressive  Patriots,  an  opposition  party. 

In  April  a  second  human  rights  organization,  the  Association 
for  the  Promotion  of  a  State  of  Law  and  Liberty  (APED/L),  was 
founded  by  a  group  of  lawyers  and  professionals.   Claiming  to 
defend  the  "everyday"  rights  of  man,  APED/L  has  subtly 
criticized  the  MBDHP ' s  antigovernment  stance.   The 
Association's  close  relations  with  the  Government  and  official 
media  suggest  that  it  was  established  to  counteract  the  MBDHP 's 
human  rights  activities.   The  Government  is  rarely  responsive 
to  investigations  by  international  nongovernmental 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Discrimination  on  the  basis  of  race,  religion,  or  ethnic  origin 
is  illegal  under  the  1991  Constitution.   In  practice,  such 
discrimination  does  not  occur  on  a  wide  scale.   Minority  ethnic 
groups  are  as  likely  to  be  represented  in  the  inner  circles  of 
the  Government  as  are  the  majority  Mossi,  and  government 
decisions  do  not  favor  one  group  over  another. 

In  the  largely  rural  society  of  Burkina  Faso,  women  continue  to 
occupy  a  subordinate  position  and  face  discrimination  in  such 
areas  as  education,  jobs,  property,  and  family  rights.   In  the 
modern  sector,  however,  women  are  well  represented,  making  up 
one-fourth  of  the  government  work  force,  usually  in  lower 
paying  positions.   Women  constitute  approximately  one-third  of 
the  total  student  population  in  the  primary,  secondary,  and 
higher  educational  systems.   Schools  in  rural  areas  have 
disproportionately  fewer  girls  than  schools  in  urban  areas. 

Violence  against  women,  especially  wife  beating,  occurs  fairly 
frequently  in  rural  areas,  less  often  in  cities.   The 
Government  is  attempting  to  educate  people  on  the  subject 
through  the  media.   Such  cases  are  sometimes  mediated  by  a 
"popular  conciliation  tribunal,"  composed  of  community 
repr esentat  ives . 

The  Government  has  made  a  particularly  strong  commitment  to 
eradicate  female  genital  mutilation  through  widespread 
educational  efforts.   Female  circumcision  still  occurs  in  many 
rural  areas,  although  it  is  becoming  less  common  in  urban 
centers.   Another  form  of  mutilation  is  scarring  the  faces  of 
both  boys  and  girls  of  certain  ethnic  groups.   This  custom, 
too,  is  gradually  disappearing. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Workers,  including  civil  servants,  have  traditionally  enjoyed  a 
legal  right  to  association,  which  is  recognized  in  the  newly 
ratified  Constitution.   There  are  a  large  number  of  trade 
unions  and  five  trade  union  federations.   Although  unions  are 
independent  of  the  Government,  the  military  Government  has  at 
times  limited  their  freedom  of  action  to  ensure  compliance  with 
government  labor  policy.   Once  the  most  powerful  political 
force  in  the  country,  organized  labor — approximately  60,000 
nonagr icultural  workers--lost  much  of  its  influence  under  the 
Sankara  and  Compaore  military  regimes.   The  five  trade  union 
federations  participated  in  the  drafting  of  the  national 
Constitution  adopted  in  June. 



The  new  Constitution  also  guarantees  organized  labor  the  right 
to  strike  in  accordance  with  the  laws  in  force.   Labor  unrest 
has  increased  a^  the  country  has  embarked  on  an  austerity 
economic  adjustment  program.   Labor  unions  are  free  to 
affiliate  internationally. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Unions  have  the  right  to  bargain  for  wages  and  other  benefits 
both  directly  with  employers  and  with  industry  associations. 
These  negotiations  are  governed  by  minimums  on  wages  and  other 
benefits  contained  in  the  interprofessional  collective 
convention  and  the  commercial-sector  collective  convention.   If 
no  agreement  is  reached,  employees  may  exercise  their  right  to 
strike.   Either  labor  or  management  may  also  refer  the  impasse 
in  negotiations  to  the  Government  for  consideration  at  the 
level  of  the  country's  labor  tribunals.   Appeals  may  be  pursued 
through  the  Court  of  Appeal  to  the  Supreme  Court,  whose 
decision  is  binding  on  both  parties.   Collective  bargaining  is 
extensive  in  the  modern  sector,  although  this  encompasses  only 
a  small  percentage  of  the  population.   The  Labor  Code  prohibits 
antiunion  discrimination,  and  complaints  about  such 
discrimination  are  handled  by  Labor  Ministry  inspectors  and  are 
appealable  to  a  tribunal  in  the  Ministry.   This  is  a 
functioning  system  which  union  officials  feel  works 
adequately.   There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  Burkina 
Faso . 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 
Forced  labor  is  prohibited  by  law  and  is  not  practiced. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  Labor  Code  sets  the  minimum  age  for  employment  at  14,  the 
average  age  for  completion  of  basic  secondary  school.   However, 
the  Ministry  of  Employment,  Labor,  and  Social  Security,  which 
oversees  labor  standards,  lacks  the  means  to  enforce  this 
provision  adequately,  even  in  the  small  wage  sector.   Most 
children  actually  begin  work  at  an  earlier  age  on  small,  family 
subsistence  farms  and  in  the  traditional  apprenticeship  system. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  Labor  Code  mandates  a  minimum  monthly  wage  and  a  maximum 
workweek  of  48  hours  and  establishes  safety  and  health 
provisions.   The  current  minimum  wage  rate,  which  does  not 
apply  to  the  large  subsistence  agriculture  sector,  was  last  set 
by  the  Government  in  1983  and  is  not  adequate  for  an  urban 
worker  to  support  a  family.   Wage  earners  usually  supplement 
their  income  through  reliance  on  the  extended  family  and 
subsistence  agriculture.   A  system  of  government  inspections 
under  the  Ministry  of  Labor  and  labor  courts  ensures  that 
health  and  safety  standards  are  applied  in  the  small  industrial 
and  commercial  sectors,  but  they  are  not  applicable  in  the 
subsistence  agriculture  sector,  which  involves  over  85  percent 
of  the  population. 



The  Republic  of  Burundi  is  a  one-party  state  led  by  President 
Pierre  Buyoya,  an  army  major  who  came  to  power  in  a  bloodless 
coup  in  September  1987.   President  Buyoya  is  also  head  of  the 
National  Party  for  Unity  and  Progress  (UPRONA)  and  exercises 
considerable  executive,  legislative,  and  regulatory  powers. 
The  23-member,  predominantly  civilian  Cabinet  manages  the 
day-to-day  business  of  government.   In  spite  of  an  increasingly 
open  political  atmosphere,  UPRONA  is  still  the  only  legal 
political  entity  in  Burundi. 

Throughout  its  history,  Burundi  has  been  plagued  by  ethnic 
conflict,  characterized  by  the  traditional  dominance  of  the 
minority  (14  percent)  Tutsi  ethnic  group  over  the  majority  (85 
percent)  Hutu  ethnic  group.   Although  progress  towards  reform 
suffered  a  setback  following  ethnic  violence  in  1988,  in  which 
5,000  to  10,000  people  were  killed,  there  has  since  been  slow 
but  definite  movement  in  the  direction  of  democratization. 

In  a  nationwide  referendum  on  February  5,  the  National  Unity 
Charter  was  approved  by  nearly  90  percent  of  the  voters.   This 
document  is  intended  to  provide  a  guarantee  of  equal  rights  for 
all  Burundis  regardless  of  ethnic  origin  and  thus  to  bring 
about  national  reconciliation.   A  35-member  constitutional 
commission,  largely  composed  of  civilians,  was  officially 
formed  on  March  21  to  formulate  a  new  constitution  to  replace 
the  one  suspended  by  President  Buyoya  when  he  came  to  power  in 
1987.   The  commission  recommended  in  September  the  creation  of 
a  multiparty  political  system,  with  fundamental  rights 
including  free  speech  and  press,  the  separation  of  powers,  and 
the  protection  of  minorities.   Government  officials  and 
commission  members  carried  out  an  energetic  campaign  to  inform 
the  population,  both  at  home  and  abroad,  of  the  commission's 
recommendation  and  to  solicit  their  views.   President  Buyoya 
has  called  for  a  referendum  on  the  constitution  early  in  1992 
to  be  followed  by  general  elections  in  early  1993.   However, 
major  opposition  groups  rejected  both  the  commission's  report 
and  the  President's  program  for  transition  as  the  unilateral 
products  of  a  government  that  came  to  power  by  force. 

Internal  state  security  is  still  the  responsibility  of  the 
security  police.   A  much  larger  regular  police  force,  or 
gendarmerie,  is  responsible  for  maintaining  law  and  order.   The 
state  security  police  have  the  same  powers  of  arrest  as  the 
regular  police  and  are  subject  to  the  same  process  of  judicial 
review.   Both  are  part  of  Burundi's  18 , 000-member  military 
force.   An  ethnically  balanced  National  Security  Council  was 
created  in  1990  to  oversee  the  activities  of  the  various 
security  forces,  which  continue  to  be  almost  entirely  composed 
of  members  of  the  Tutsi  ethnic  group.   During  times  of  unrest, 
the  army  is  permitted  to  take  persons  into  custody  on  behalf  of 
the  gendarmerie.   Elements  of  the  military  committed 
significant  human  rights  abuses  in  1991  in  responding  to 
alleged  threats  and  attacks  from  members  of  the  Party  for  the 
Liberation  of  the  Hutu  People  (PALIPEHUTU) . 

Landlocked  Burundi  is  extremely  poor  and  densely  populated. 
Over  four-fifths  of  the  working  population  is  engaged  in 
subsistence  agriculture,  working  small,  privately  owned  plots. 
The  small  monetary  economy  is  based  largely  on  the  export  of 
coffee,  with  few  other  cash  crops.   The  country  has  embarked  on 
a  structural  adjustment  program  supported  by  the  donor 
community  which  includes  the  privatization  of  a  range  of 
industries.   The  increasingly  grave  social  and  economic  problem 



of  the  acquired  immumodef iciency  syndrome  (AIDS)  complicates  a 
preexisting  health-care  crisis. 

In  1991  civil  liberties  continued  to  be  significantly 
restricted,  including  the  rights  of  assembly  and  association 
and  of  political  expression.   Brutality,  and  sometimes  torture, 
of  detainees  remained  a  problem,  as  did  the  Government's 
failure  to  investigate  effectively  and  punish  those 
responsible.   In  the  aftermath  of  attacks  on  military  and 
police  installations  in  November,  security  forces  overreacted, 
resulting  in  the  death  of  between  500  and  1,000  people.   A 
commission  of  inquiry  was  established  to  investigate  these 
incidents,  and  some  military  person  were  arrested.   The 
Government  also  abolished  a  special  security  court.   Citizens 
still  did  not  have  the  right  to  change  their  government,  but 
there  was  progress  towards  a  democratic  political  system. 


Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

In  late  November  and  December,  500  to  1,000  people  were  killed 
as  the  result  of  security  forces'  response  to  attacks  on 
military  and  police  installations.   Reliable  reports  indicate 
that  many  of  these  deaths  were  the  result  of  the  use  of 
excessive  force.   The  Government  established  a  commission  of 
inquiry,  headed  by  the  Attorney  General,  to  investigate  the 
causes  of  the  violence  as  well  as  excesses  on  the  part  of  the 
authorities.   At  year's  end,  several  Tutsi  military  officers 
had  been  detained  for  prosecution  where  culpability  had  been 
determined.   There  were  persistent  reports  that  Burundi 
military  forces  killed  an  unspecified  number  of  Hutu  peasants 
in  the  north  of  the  country.   The  Government  denied  the  reports, 

Questions  concerning  the  1990  death  of  Remy  Gahutu,  a  prominent 
exiled  Burundi  political  dissident  who  died  while  in  the 
custody  of  Tanzanian  authorities,  remained  unresolved  in  1991. 
Clinical  information  indicated  the  death  may  have  been  the 
result  of  poisoning,  and  members  of  Gahutu 's  organization  have 
alleged  that  Burundi  authorities  were  ultimately  responsible. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  numerous  reports  of  people  disappearing  during  the 
November  disturbances,  and  the  Government  promised  to  provide 
lists  of  those  arrested.   At  year's  end,  it  was  still  not 
possible  to  account  for  all  missing  persons.   Some  may  be 
presumed  to  be  among  the  approximately  40,000  Burundians  who 
fled  to  Zaire  or  Rwanda  as  a  result  of  recent  or  threatened 
violence  and  who  remained  outside  of  the  country. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Torture  is  forbidden  by  law,  but  cruel  treatment  of  suspects  or 
detainees  continues  to  occur  in  the  form  of  beatings  during 
arrest  or  interrogation.   There  is  no  evidence  of  vigorous 
prosecution  for  such  torture  or  brutality,  and  the  council 
established  2  years  ago  to  investigate  official  misconduct  and 
brutality  apparently  has  seldom  met  and  reportedly  has  taken 
action  only  once.   Members  of  the  legal  and  human  rights 



communities  report  that  judges  rarely  press  the  police  about 
the  nature  of  their  conduct  in  questionable  cases. 

Prison  conditions  remain  severe  in  Burundi,  due  to  lack  of 
adequate  hygiene,  clothing,  medical  care,  food,  and  water. 
Food  must  be  grown  by  the  prisoners  and  when  possible 
supplemented  by  their  families.   The  Government  has  begun  a 
program  of  gradually  improving  conditions;  to  date,  efforts 
have  been  focused  on  increasing  the  supply  of  food  and 
clothing.   Visits  by  family  members  are  difficult,  particularly 
when  prisoners  are  moved  to  locations  distant  from  their  homes 
due  to  overcrowding. 

d.   Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Police  officers  are  empowered  to  detain  suspects  without  an 
arrest  warrant  but  must  submit  a  written  report  to  the  public 
prosecutor ■ s  office  within  24  hours.   The  public  prosecutor  may 
either  order  the  detainee's  release  or  issue  an  arrest  warrant 
valid  for  5  days.   The  public  prosecutor  must  then  state  the 
charges  before  a  magistrate  in  the  presence  of  the  detainee. 
The  magistrate  may  confirm  the  detention,  initially  for  15  days 
and  subsequently  for  30-day  periods  as  necessary  to  prepare  the 
case  for  trial.   The  law  allows  unlimited  pretrial  detention. 
Bail  is  set  only  in  cases  of  embezzlement  or  similar  crimes 
involving  financial  wrongdoing. 

In  general,  the  prescribed  procedures  for  arrest  and 
imprisonment  are  followed  in  criminal  cases,  although 
proceedings  may  be  affected  by  the  lack  of  a  well-trained 
judiciary.   In  political  security  cases,  however,  procedural 
requirements  are  sometimes  ignored.   In  all  cases,  time  limits 
for  issuance  of  arrest  warrants  and  appearance  before  a 
magistrate  are  often  exceeded,  usually  due  to  a  shortage  of 
magistrates  and  prosecutors. 

The  constitutional  commission  remarked  that  arbitrary  arrests 
and  prolonged  preventive  detentions  still  exist.   Three 
American  law  professors,  who  did  extensive  judicial  consulting 
in  July  and  August,  confirmed  that  persons  are  detained  before 
trial  without  prosecutorial  or  judicial  review.   The  Ministry 
of  Justice  has  expressed  concern  about  this  problem  and  is 
reportedly  considering  remedies  to  correct  the  situation. 

In  1991  the  Government  cracked  down  on  members  of  opposition 
groups  (see  Section  3),  both  legal  and  illegal,  when  they  were 
suspected  of  supporting  antigovernment  activities.   One  member 
of  the  opposition  party,  the  Front  for  Democracy  in  Burundi 
(FRODEBU)  spent  3  months  in  prison — from  May  to  July — for 
possession  of  antigovernment  literature.   In  August  the 
Government  began  detaining  supporters  of  the  illegal  opposition 
group  PALIPEHUTU  for  agitation  and  possession  of  antigovernment 
literature.   The  detainees  included  the  vice  president  of  the 
group.   The  Government  acknowledged  that,  prior  to  the  outbreak 
of  violence  in  November,  it  had  arrested  60  persons  for 
activities  against  the  Government.   These  persons  have  not  yet 
been  charged,  and  the  cases  have  not  yet  gone  to  trial.   There 
are  divergent  estimates  of  the  number  of  additional  arrests 
made  during  the  violence  in  November,  but  the  number  could 
presumably  be  in  the  hundreds.   Once  again,  charges  have  not 
been  filed,  and  the  cases  have  not  been  brought  to  trial. 
However,  the  Government  has  stated  that  all  those  arrested  will 
be  tried  under  existing  criminal  laws. 



During  the  course  of  1991,  some  members  of  the  Jehovah's 
Witnesses  were  arrested  by  local  authorities  for  refusing  to 
comply  (on  religipus  grounds)  with  local  government 
directives.   No  charges  were  filed,  and  all  were  released 
within  48  hours. 

The  Government  does  not  exile  its  nationals  as  a  means  of 
political  control.   However,  since  1987  ex-president  Bagaza  and 
his  wife  have  been  denied  permission  to  return  to  Burundi, 
although  the  Buyoya  Government  has  stated  that  it  is  willing  to 
negotiate  the  conditions  of  their  return.    In  1991  Mrs.  Bagaza 
attempted  to  return  secretly,  using  a  false  name  and  passport, 
but  was  not  allowed  to  land  in  Burundi.   The  Government 
reiterated  its  willingness  to  negotiate  her  return.   Three 
Bagaza  daughters,  all  minors,  remain  in  Burundi  with  relatives; 
they  are  free  to  leave,  however. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  judiciary  is  not  independent;  it  is  expected  to  adhere  to 
the  guidance  and  recommendations  of  UPRONA,  the  Government,  and 
the  President.   In  practice,  there  is  a  high  degree  of  autonomy 
in  the  court's  daily  administration  of  justice.   The  President 
has  the  power  to  pardon  or  reduce  sentences.   In  cases  of  major 
political  interest,  the  Government  occasionally  intervenes  in 
the  judicial  process. 

Military  and  civil/criminal  cases  are  dealt  with  in  separate 
court  systems.   Military  tribunals  have  jurisdiction  only  over 
military  personnel  and  persons  suspected  of  committing  crimes 
against  the  military.   A  separate  state  security  court  which 
had  jurisdiction  over  both  civilian  and  military  personnel  in 
cases  involving  state  security  was  abolished  in  1991,  and  its 
cases  will  now  be  handled  by  the  appropriate  criminal  or 
military  court. 

The  judicial  system  consists  of  the  Supreme  Court,  the  courts 
of  appeals,  the  administrative  courts,  the  Labor  Court,  and  the 
Court  of  Accounts.   The  latter  Court  investigates  and 
prosecutes  cases  of  official  corruption;  to  date  most  of  its 
cases  have  involved  actions  that  occurred  under  the  previous 
regime.   Pretrial  proceedings,  which  are  not  public,  are 
conducted  by  the  Government  and  may  involve  lengthy 
investigations.   Most  cases  do  not  involve  an  effective 
independent  defense  due  to  a  shortage  of  lawyers  and  resources 
on  the  part  of  the  accused. 

The  courts  are  hampered  by  a  shortage  of  legal  personnel  and  a 
heavy  case  load.   Currently,  systemic  problems  with 
dissemination  of  information,  new  presidential  decrees,  and 
Supreme  Court  decisions  mean  that  the  law  is  not  equally 
applied  in  all  cases.   Upcountry  magistrates,  in  particular, 
often  have  access  to  only  a  single  volume  of  1970  laws. 

f.  Arbitrary  Interference  With  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

The  inviolability  of  the  home  and  of  private  correspondence 
were  provided  for  in  the  suspended  constitution  and  are  still 
respected  in  practice.   A  judicial  warrant  is  required  for  a 
law  enforcement  official  to  enter  and  search  a  private 
residence.   The  state  security  office  monitors  political 
dissidence  through  the  state  security  police  and  by  employing 
informers  who  report  on  discontent  and  dissent  as  well  as  on 



criminal  activity.   Membership  in  the  UPRONA  party  is  not 
required  by  law. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

There  are  significant  restrictions  on  speech  and  press 
freedoms.   The  Buyoya  regime  has  permitted  public  debate  on 
formerly  taboo  subjects,  such  as  ethnic  relations  and  official 
corruption;  however,  debate  is  largely  confined  to  UPRONA  party 
meetings,  the  forum  for  dialog  officially  encouraged  by  the 
Government.   Criticism  outside  party  forums  is  restricted. 
Possession  of  opposition  political  tracts  is  a  punishable 
offense,  e.g.,  seven  members  of  the  FRODEBU  opposition  party 
were  arrested  and  imprisoned  in  1991  for  possession  of  such 
tracts  (see  Section  l.d.). 

The  Government  regulates  domestic  print  and  broadcast  media.   A 
French-language  daily  and  a  Kirundi-language  weekly  newspaper 
are  published  by  the  Ministry  of  Information,  which  also 
operates  the  domestic  radio  and  television  stations.   The 
official  media  supports  the  fundamental  policies  of  the  party 
and  the  Government.   While  some  criticism  of  the  Government  is 
permitted,  journalists  are  state  employees  and  subject  to 
disciplinary  action  if  their  criticism  goes  beyond  what  is 
considered  tolerable.   The  Government  has  interfered  on 
occasion  with  the  distribution  of  foreign  news  publications  and 
censored  sexually  explicit  foreign  film  material  or 
publ ications . 

In  1988  a  liberalized  ordinance  authorized  private  print  media 
in  Burundi,  provided  they  have  prior  authorization  from  the 
Ministry  of  Information.   Private  broadcast  media  are  not  yet 
authorized.   Two  news  publications  emerged,  one  a  Catholic 
biweekly  in  Kirundi  and  the  other  a  monthly  magazine  published 
in  French  by  an  association  of  Burundian  intellectuals. 
Although  these  publications  debate  multiparty  versus  single 
party  political  systems  and  have  been  critical  of  UPRONA,  they 
appear  to  refrain  from  taking  genuinely  controversial  positions 
on  critical  issues. 

Academic  freedom  is  limited;  primary  and  secondary 
schoolteachers  are  expected  to  support  government  policies. 
Professors  at  the  University  of  Burundi  come  from  a  wide 
assortment  of  national  backgrounds.   They  are  generally 
permitted  to  lecture  freely  in  their  subject  areas,  conduct 
research,  and  draw  independent  conclusions,  but  they  do  not 
concern  themselves  with  domestic  politics. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

These  rights  are  restricted.   No  political  meetings  or 
associations  other  than  those  tied  to  UPRONA  are  currently 
permitted,  although  some  are  tolerated  within  limits.   A  number 
of  Burundian  intellectuals  are  openly  supportive  of  the  FRODEBU 
opposition  party,  without,  apparently,  suffering  for  it. 
Informal  gatherings  and  some  criticism  is  permitted;  however 
the  PALIPEHUTU  party,  considered  by  the  Government  to  promote 
ethnic  division,  is  illegal,  and  its  activities  are  not 
tolerated.   In  August,  eight  PAI  IPEHUTU  supporters  were 
arrested  and  imprisoned  for  agitation,  as  a  result  of  holding 
an  illegal  meeting. 



c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

For  the  most  part,  the  Buyoya  Government  has  reversed  the 
repression  of  religious  expression  under  the  previous  regime  of 
Colonel  Jean-Baptiste  Bagaza.   Buyoya  has  freed  religious 
prisoners,  reopened  closed  churches,  returned  confiscated 
church  properties,  including  houses  and  schools,  authorized 
workday  religious  services,  reinstituted  the  activities  of  the 
catechists,  and  authorized  church  schools  (including  seminaries 
and  literary  and  catechism  classes),  publications,  and 
broadcasts.   Those  missionaries  who  were  expelled  have  been 
allowed  to  return,  and  there  are  no  restrictions  on  new 
missionaries  for  authorized  churches.   Since  more  than  60 
percent  of  the  population  is  Catholic,  the  Catholic  Church 
plays  an  important  role  in  the  development  of  the  country  and 
in  the  lives  of  both  rural  and  urban  Burundians. 

Religious  organizations,  subject  to  the  same  rules  and 
restrictions  that  apply  to  secular  organizations,  must  obtain 
approval  from  the  Government  to  operate  in  Burundi,  and  a 
Burundi  citizen  must  be  designated  as  legal  representative  of 
each  organization.   The  approval  process,  which  includes  an 
investigation  of  the  association's  activities  in  its  home 
country,  can  be  lengthy.   The  Government  has  legally  recognized 
the  Seventh-Day  Adventist  Church  and  has  restored  its 
confiscated  properties. 

However,  the  pattern  of  arrests  and  harassment  of  Jehovah's 
Witnesses  continued  in  1991,  despite  the  June  1990  visit  of  an 
international  delegation  of  Witnesses.   The  Government  still 
has  not  granted  the  group  legal  status,  allegedly  because  of 
Witnesses'  refusal  to  acknowledge  secular  authority. 

Religious  groups  may  not  engage  in  political  activity  critical 
of  the  Government.   There  are  no  barriers  to  the  maintenance  of 
links  with  coreligionists  in  other  countries.   Participation  in 
religious  life  does  not  exclude  membership  in  the  UPRONA  party 
or  eligibility  for  social  benefits. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

The  Government  has  not  instituted  nationwide  restrictions  on 
internal  travel  since  the  after.math  of  the  August  1988  ethnic 
violence.   Since  that  time,  local  travel  has  occasionally  been 
restricted  in  areas  experiencing  unrest.   The  Government's 
policy  is  to  discourage  urban  migration  through  rural 
development  programs  and  a  public  education  campaign.   A 
voluntary  resettlement  program  exists  to  promote  migration  from 
densely  populated  areas  to  parts  of  the  country  where  more  land 
is  available. 

Foreign  travel  and  emigration  are  relatively  free.   In  1990  the 
Government  abolished  the  requirement  that  Burundi  citizens  who 
travel  abroad  must  surrender  their  passports  to  the  immigration 
office  on  their  return  to  Burundi.   Citizens  are  not  required 
to  have  passports  for  journeys  to  neighboring  areas  of  Rwanda 
and  Zaire.   Foreigners  residing  in  Burundi  must  have  exit  visas 
to  leave  the  country. 

All  but  approximately  800  of  the  more  than  50,000  Burundi 
citizens  who  fled  to  southern  Rwanda  following  the  August  1988 
ethnic  violence  have  returned  voluntarily  to  their  homes.   The 
United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR)  is 
continuing  to  work  with  those  who  wish  to  return  home.   In  a 


special  repatriation  effort,  the  Burundian  Government  and  the 
UNHCR  are  working  to  make  possible  the  voluntary  repatriation 
of  Burundians  who  fled  to  other  countries  following  the  1972 
outbreak  of  ethnic  violence.   More  than  150,000  Burundians  left 
the  country  at  that  time.   Approximately  17,000  returned  during 
1991,  but  an  additional  estimated  40,000  fled  to  Zaire  or 
Rwanda  as  a  result  of  the  November  violence. 

The  current  official  estimate  of  Burundi's  refugee  population 
is  269,000,  most  of  whom  are  Rwandan  Tutsis  who  have  resided  in 
Burundi  since  the  1960's.   These  refugees,  for  the  most  part, 
have  been  integrated  into  Burundi  society  and  no  longer  require 
assistance  from  the  UNHCR.   No  refugees  were  forcefully 
repatriated  in  1991;  however,  some  refugees  reportedly  joined 
the  Rwandan  Patriotic  Front  in  the  armed  conflict  in  Rwanda. 
Several  refugees,  with  assistance  from  the  UNHCR,  were 
resettled  from  Burundi  to  other  countries.   In  1991,  18 
Rwandans  and  1  Zairian  were  resettled  in  Canada,  and  32 
Somalians  who  had  arrived  in  Burundi  in  1989  were  resettled  in 
the  United  States.   Some  20  Somalians  remain  in  Burundi  under 
UNHCR  auspices. 

The  Government  occasionally  repatriates  Rwandans  and  Zairians 
who  lack  residence  permits,  or  who  have  been  arrested  on 
suspicion  of  criminal  activities.   At  present,  Burundi 
citizenship  may  only  be  acquired  through  birth  from  Burundi 
parents  or  by  marriage,  but  the  Government  is  considering  the 
question  of  naturalization. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  do  not  have  the  legal  right  to  change  their 
government.   In  August  the  constitutional  commission, 
presenting  its  report,  called  for  wide  public  participation  in 
the  creation  of  the  new  constitution.   It  also  called  for 
public  debate  its  recommendation  that  Burundi  adopt  a 
multiparty  system.   Since  the  release  of  the  report,  government 
officials  and  members  of  the  commission  have  conducted  public 
meetings  in  localities  throughout  the  country  and  met  with 
interest  groups  to  solicit  comments.   Opposition  groups  have 
criticized  this  process  and  called  for  a  national  conference  to 
assure  more  open  and  free  debate. 

Political  participation  currently  takes  place  only  within  the 
one-party  structure  of  UPRONA,  and  voters  can  express 
dissatisfaction  only  by  voting  against  incumbents  for  party 
positions.   The  party  is  open  to  all  Burundi  citizens 
supporting  its  principles  and,  with  its  youth,  women's,  and 
labor  affiliates,  claims  a  membership  of  over  three-quarters  of 
the  adult  population.   However,  many  registered  party  members 
are  inactive. 

While  the  report  of  the  constitutional  commission  calls  for  the 
development  of  a  multiparty  system  in  Burundi,  its 
recommendations  also  make  it  clear  that,  now  and  in  the  future, 
parties  will  be  allowed  to  operate  only  as  long  as  they  do  not 
violate  prohibitions  against  activities  or  literature  calling 
for  ethnic  identification.   The  Government  took  the  position 
that  any  action  or  literature  which  challenged  the  concept  of 
national  unity  or  called  for  ethnically  based  political 
movements  represented  an  illegitimate  challenge  to  the 
Government.   At  the  end  of  1991,  UPRONA  remained  the  only  legal 
political  party  in  Burundi.   However,  during  the  year  the 
Government  tolerated  some  activities  on  the  part  of  parties 



which  apparently  were  not  considered  a  serious  threat  to  the 
Government  or  the  principle  of  national  unity.   These  parties 
include  FRODEBU,  -the  Movement  for  Peace  and  Democracy,  the 
Party  of  the  People,  and  the  Royalist  Party. 

In  contrast  to  its  relatively  tolerant  attitude  toward  these 
parties,  the  Government  took  aggressive  action  against  the 
PALIPEHUTU  Party  during  1991.   The  Government  accused  the  party 
of  openly  fostering  ethnically  based  divisive  politics  as  well 
as  supporting  violence  against  the  Government.   Numerous  party 
members  were  arrested. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

In  1991  two  local  human  rights  groups  were  officially 
recognized  by  the  Government.   While  these  organizations  are 
apparently  free  to  conduct  investigations  and  publish  findings, 
their  activities  and  effectiveness  have  thus  far  been  limited 
by  a  lack  of  experience  and  resources  and  by  the  Government's 
lack  of  procedures  for  handling  requests  for  information  and 
permission  to  carry  out  monitoring  activities. 

The  Government  allows  international  and  nongovernmental 
organizations  to  investigate  human  rights  conditions  in 
Burundi.   After  initially  rejecting  calls  for  an  international 
investigation  into  the  August  1988  ethnic  violence,  it  allowed 
an  extensive  survey  of  conditions  in  the  affected  areas  by  U.N. 
representatives.   An  Amnesty  International  delegation  visited 
Burundi  in  June  1989,  primarily  to  investigate  the  status  of 
the  detainees  arrested  in  the  aftermath  of  the  violence. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Historically,  the  minority  Tutsi  (14  percent)  have  dominated 
the  majority  Hutu  people.   Serious  civil  strife  resulting  in 
thousands  of  deaths  has  erupted  between  the  two  groups  several 
times  in  the  modern  era,  most  recently  in  April  1972  and  August 
1988.   In  both  instances,  a  large  majority  of  the  victims  were 
Hutus.   Following  the  1988  ethnic  violence,  the  Government, 
with  the  support  of  the  international  community,  moved  rapidly 
to  try  to  restore  ethnic  confidence,  including  the  appointment 
of  a  national  unity  commission  to  recommend  fundamental  ethnic 
reforms . 

However,  de  facto  discrimination  by  Tutsis  against  Hutus 
remains  in  many  areas  of  society,  although  it  is  not  condoned 
by  law.   There  are  very  few  Hutus  in  the  army,  and  they  are 
seriously  underrepresented  in  the  civil  service  and  university 
positions.   The  Tutsis  have  traditionally  had  better  access  to 
educational  opportunities.   As  a  result  of  recent  reform 
efforts,  Hutus  have  made  inroads  into  the  civil  service.   The 
number  of  Hutus  now  exceeds  the  number  of  Tutsis  entering 
secondary  school,  which  represents  progress  compared  with  past 
years  but  still  remains  greatly  disproportional .   The  pace  of 
integration  in  the  military  remains  slow.   Tutsis  dominate  the 
modern  economic  sector,  while  in  rural  areas  economic 
opportunities  are  roughly  equivalent  for  both  groups. 

Women  hold  a  secondary  position  in  Burundi  society,  based  on 
traditional  patterns.   The  suspended  constitution  provided  for 
legal , equal ity,  and  this  continues  to  be  respected  in 
practice.   The  current  legal  code  prohibits  polygamy  and  a 



dowry  requirement,  allows  women  some  control  over  family 
matters,  and  provides  for  land  inheritance  by  women.   However, 
legal  restrictions  persist,  including  the  provision  that  a 
married  woman  may  not  start  a  business  without  her  husband  s 
permission.   Fewer  women  than  men  obtain  formal  education; 
according  to  U.N.  data,  females  get  one-third  of  the  schooling 
of  males.   Once  a  woman  obtains  a  degree,  she  can  generally 
find  suitable  employment.   The  Government  has  not  discriminated 
against  women  in  hiring,  and  the  civil  service  pay  scale  makes 
no  distinction  between  men  and  women.   However,  women  are  not 
significantly  represented  in  business,  the  professions,  or  at 
higher  levels  of  government,  though  the  situation  has  improved 
in  recent  years. 

Violence  against  women,  especially  wife  beating,  is  known  to 
take  place,  but  the  extent  of  the  violence  has  not  been 
documented.   While  police  do  not  normally  intervene  in  domestic 
disputes,  severe  cases  are  dealt  with  by  the  legal  system.   The 
Government  officially  discourages  violence  against  women  and 
addresses  the  problem  largely  through  the  Burundi  Women's 
Union,  which  provides  counseling  and,  when  deemed  necessary, 
referral  to  legal  authorities. 

Section  6   Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Up  to  the  end  of  1991,  workers  did  not  have  the  right  to  freely 
form  and  join  labor  unions.   The  UPRONA  party  controlled  the 
National  Trade  Union  Confederation  (UTB)  and  supported  it 
through  direct  and  in-kind  subsidies.   Its  leadership  was 
appointed  by  the  President.   No  other  unions  were  allowed  by 
law.   On  December  30,  as  part  of  its  move  to  a  multiparty 
system,  the  Government  dissolved  the  UTB,  defining  its  18 
subgroups  as  politically  and  financially  independent  unions, 
organized  by  trade.   The  Confederation  of  Free  Unions  of 
Burundi  (CSB),  with  an  elected  chair,  was  created  as  an 
administrative  umbrella  organization.   While  not  all  issues 
concerning  the  new  unions'  structure  and  rights  have  been 
resolved,  they  and  the  CSB  face  the  immediate  challenge  of 
supporting  their  activities  based  solely  on  worker 
contributions.   Labor  policy  has  been  and  will  continue  to  be 
formulated  by  the  National  Labor  Council,  on  which  employers, 
organized  labor,  and  the  Ministry  of  Labor  are  represented. 
The  Council  debates  labor  issues  and  makes  policy 
recommendations  to  the  Government. 

Strikes  are  permitted  only  if  authorized  by  the  Ministry  of 
Labor  after  negotiations  have  failed,  and  advocacy  of  an 
unauthorized  strike  or  lockout  is  a  criminal  offense.   There 
have  been  no  authorized  strikes  in  recent  years.   Public  sector 
employees  have  not  been  allowed  to  strike.   The  UTB  was 
affiliated  with  the  Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Workers  did  not  have  the  right  to  organize  outside  the  UTB 
until  the  end  of  the  year.   Prior  to  December  30,  collective 
bargaining  was  supervised  by  the  Government.   There  were  no 
limits  on  the  issues  which  could  be  bargained  between  the  UTB 
and  the  employers,  but  the  two  sides  were  bound  by  the 
guidelines  on  wage  and  working  conditions  guidelines 
established  by  the  National  Labor  Council  and  approved  by  the 
Government.   To  resolve  labor  disputes  outside  of  collective 
bargaining  situations,  a  three-step  process  was  available: 



direct  employer-employee  negotiations  under  the  auspices  of  the 
UTB;  an  administrative  hearing  before  a  government  labor 
inspector;  and  a  legal  proceeding  before  the  Labor  Court  (or  an 
administrative  court,  in  the  case  of  public  employees),  in 
which  the  UTB  represented  the  employee  (whether  a  union  member 
or  not).   The  UTB  was  often  successful  in  forcing  employers  to 
change  their  practices  through  this  process.   The  UTB  estimated 
that  it  had  between  80,000  and  100,000  members,  or 
approximately  50  percent  of  the  country's  wage-earning 
employees.   Antiunion  discrimination  is  prohibited  by  law  and 
is  not  a  problem  in  practice  because  of  the  protections 
provided  to  employees  under  the  Labor  Code. 

There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  Burundi. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  forbidden  by  law  and  is  not 
practiced.   The  International  Labor  Organization's  (ILO) 
Committee  of  Experts  (COE)  has  regularly  noted  that  various 
legislative  provisions  that  call  for  imprisonment  and  an 
obligation  to  work  as  punishment  for  expressions  of  political 
views  contrary  to  those  of  the  party  are  not  in  compliance  with 
ILO  Convention  105.   The  COE  has  also  noted  that  provisions 
concerning  agricultural  ordinances  are  in  violation  of  ILO 
Convention  29.  The  UTB  stated  that,  while  many  prisoners  do 
agricultural  or  artisanal  work  to  help  feed  themselves,  there 
is  no  compulsory  convict  labor  in  Burundi. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

In  the  modern,  urban  sector  of  the  economy,  children  under  the 
age  of  16  may  not  be  employed  in  any  capacity.   Enforcement  of 
this  minimum  age  by  inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of  Labor  is 
lim.ited.   As  a  practical  matter  in  this  poor,  largely  rural 
country,  many  children  are  obliged  by  custom  and  circumstance 
to  help  their  families  in  subsistence  agriculture.   Many  urban 
children  engage  in  small-scale  street  trading  and  other 
activities  to  supplement  the  family  income. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Over  90  percent  of  the  population  of  Burundi  is  engaged  in 
subsistence  agriculture.   Minimum  labor  standards  are 
established  by  the  National  Labor  Council  and  promulgated  by 
the  Government  in  the  Labor  Code,  but  these  standards  have 
relevance  primarily  for  workers  in  the  small  wage  sector  of  the 
economy.   The  established  minimum  wage  rate  is  inadequate  to 
provide  a  decent  living  for  urban  families,  who  frequently 
supplement  their  income  through  family  gardening  or  petty 
commerce . 

The  maximum  workweek  is  fixed  by  law  at  45  hours.   In  the 
modern  economic  sector,  minimum  health  and  safety  standards  are 
incorporated  in  the  Labor  Code  and  are  monitored  by  the 
Ministry  of  Labor.   The  number  of  safety  inspectors  is 
insufficient  to  enforce  these  standards  effectively. 



Political  power  in  Cameroon  is  concentrated  in  the  Presidency 
and  a  single  party,  the  Cameroon  People's  Democratic  Movement 
(CPDM) .   President  Paul  Biya  is  Head  of  State  and  president  of 
the  CPDM.   He  makes  all  major  decisions  and  appoints  all  senior 
government  and  party  officials.   Members  of  the  180-deputy 
National  Assembly  may  initiate  bills  and  amend  measures 
proposed  by  the  Government.   However,  in  practice,  provisions 
the  Government  finds  inimical  are  never  brought  to  a  vote  by 
the  full  house.   Cameroon's  political  system  is  influenced  by 
its  ethnic  and  linguistic  diversity,  which  comprises  230 
languages  and  major  dialects  and  3  separate  European  colonial 
traditions  (German,  French,  and  British).   Balance  among  the 
various  groups  is  required  to  maintain  political  cohesion, 
which  acts  as  a  check  on  government  power . 

Internal  security  responsibilities  are  shared  by  the  national 
police,  the  national  intelligence  service  (CENER),  the 
gendarmerie,  the  Ministry  of  Territorial  Administration 
(MINAT) ,  military  intelligence  (SEMIL),  the  army,  and,  to  a 
lesser  extent,  the  presidential  security  service.   MINAT  is  in 
charge  of  prisons,  and  its  local-level  officials  (prefects) 
play  a  key  role  in  ensuring  order.   The  gendarmerie  and  the 
police  have  the  dominant  role  in  enforcing  internal  security 
laws.   In  the  7  of  the  country's  10  provinces  which  experienced 
significant  unrest  during  the  year,  all  security  forces  were 
under  the  nominal  command  of  an  "operational  commander"  from 
late  May  until  early  December.   In  1991  there  were  numerous 
credible  reports  of  human  rights  abuses  committed  by  security 
forces . 

Cameroon's  per  capita  gross  domestic  product  (GDP)  of  about 
$1,000  in  1989  placed  it  among  the  lower  middle-income 
developing  countries,  a  slight  decline  from  1988.   Preliminary 
data  indicated  that  GDP  declined  again  in  1991.   Cameroon's 
food  self-sufficiency  helps  mitigate  the  effects  of  declining 
terms  of  trade  and  other  external  difficulties. 

The  human  rights  climate  in  Cameroon  deteriorated  sharply  in 
1991.   In  several  cases,  there  was  evidence  of  government 
tolerance  for  human  rights  abuses  and  throughout  much  of  the 
year  of  government  inaction  in  the  face  of  widespread, 
continuing  abuses.   Continuing  human  rights  abuses  included 
extrajudicial  killings,  torture  and  other  mistreatment  of 
prisoners,  harsh  prison  conditions,  repeated  arbitrary  arrest 
and  detention,  restrictions  on  freedoms  of  speech  and  assembly, 
and  limitations  on  women's  and  worker  rights.   Starting  in  the 
spring,  there  were  a  number  of  serious  incidents  and  abuses, 
some  of  which  caused  many  civilian  deaths.   Beginning  in  April 
with  student  protests  and  continuing  with  general  strikes 
called  by  the  opposition,  public  demonstrations  often  met 
brutal  repression  by  security  forces.   In  addition,  the 
Government  banned  six  associations,  closed  newspapers  it  found 
troublesome,  and  harassed  the  political  opposition,  using 
arbitrary  arrest  and  detention  and  administrative 
restrictions.   This  repression  abated  somewhat  at  year's  end. 

Responding  to  pressure  for  reform.  President  Biya  in  October 
announced  that  multiparty  elections  to  the  National  Assembly 
would  be  held  in  1992,  in  accordance  with  procedures  developed 
in  coordination  with  the  opposition  political  parties. 
However,  sharp  disagreements  between  the  Government  and  the 
opposition,  and  within  the  opposition  itself,  left  it  unclear 
at  year's  end  whether  a  date  could  be  agreed  on.   During  the 
year,  the  Government  legally  recognized  over  40  political 



parties,  permitted  the  return  of  a  number  of  political  exiles, 
and  released  over  100  persons  imprisoned  for  political  reasons 
or  who  had  never  been  tried. 


Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  over  100  instances  of  extrajudicial  killing  in 
Cameroon  during  1991.   These  instances  varied  widely,  from 
police  beating  a  baker  to  death  in  Mbouda  to  mob  lynching  of  a 
gendarme  in  Douala  and  to  ethnic  clashes  in  Meiganga.   Often 
the  deaths  occurred  during  the  heat  of  a  confrontation  between 
security  forces  and  crowds  protesting  against  government 
policies.   Victims  included  security  officers  as  well  as 
civilians . 

Among  the  many  examples  was  the  incident  at  Yaounde  University 
on  May  6.   Students  and  many  others  claim  that  at  least  3  and 
as  many  as  20  students  were  killed  after  the  gendarmerie 
intervened  to  break  up  a  meeting  of  a  student  organization.   A 
government-named  special  commission  found  no  evidence  that 
security  forces  had  killed  anyone,  but  many  persons  claim  that 
fear  of  retribution  kept  potential  witnesses  from  providing 
testimony  that  would  have  constrained  the  commission  to  find 
otherwise . 

In  mid-April  confrontations  between  security  forces  and 
political  demonstrators  led  to  between  two  and  nine  deaths  in 
Ngaoundere,  capital  of  Adamaoua  Province.   A  son  of  the  local 
traditional  ruler  and  at  least  one  security  officer  were  among 
those  killed.   Following  a  night  of  disorder  on  April  19, 
including  vandalism  and  some  physical  violence,  a  young  woman 
who  was  5  months  pregnant  was  brutally  tortured  and  sexually 
abused  by  security  forces,  leading  to  her  death  (see  Section 

Credible  reports  indicated  that  the  authorities  in  the  Adamaoua 
Province  town  of  Meiganga  exploited  longstanding  ethnic 
tensions  in  an  effort  to  break  the  opposition-led  general 
strike,  known  as  "Operation  Ghost  Towns."   In  mid-July  these 
tensions  boiled  over  into  an  interethnic  skirmish  which  left  at 
least  40  dead.   As  far  as  is  known,  there  was  no  investigation 
into  the  circumstances  leading  to  this  tragedy  or  of  the  many 
instances  of  killings  by  security  forces  during  1991. 

In  early  September,  a  retired  archbishop  was  strangled  at  his 
home  in  Ngaoundere  shortly  after  he  met  with  President  Biya. 
It  is  widely  believed  that  political  motives  prompted  the 
murder;  however,  the  police  investigation  was  neither  energetic 
nor  thorough  and  has  not  produced  any  suspects. 

b.  Disappearance 

Various  sources  reported  that  between  53  and  68  students 
disappeared  following  the  May  6  incident  at  Yaounde 
University.   All  but  one  of  these  persons  were  accounted  for 
soon  thereafter  by  a  special  commission.   The  unreliability  of 
student  registration  rolls  complicated  efforts  to  follow  up  on 
allegations  of  disappearance. 



c.   Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Although  the  Penal  Code  proscribes  torture,  renders 
inadmissible  in  court  evidence  obtained  thereby,  and  prohibits 
public  servants  from  using  force  against  any  person,  there  were 
many  credible  reports  of  security  forces  inflicting  severe 
beatings,  systematic  torture,  and  other  inhumane  treatment 
during  1991.   Sanctions  against  those  responsible  are  almost 
unknown.   Investigations  are  rare  because  abused  persons 
frequently  fear  reprisals  against  themselves  and  their  families 
in  the  event  they  lodge  a  complaint.   Prison  conditions  are 
abominable,  though  overcrowding  in  the  major  Douala  and  Yaounde 
prisons  eased  somewhat  in  1991. 

Among  the  examples  of  brutality  by  security  forces  and  of  harsh 
prison  conditions  was  the  case  of  the  pregnant  woman  mentioned 
in  Section  l.a.   Prior  to  her  death,  she  told  a  Western 
diplomat  that  she  had  suffered  repeated  mistreatment,  including 
regular,  severe  beatings,  denial  of  food  and  exercise,  and,  on 
the  first  night  in  prison,  being  forced  to  strip  naked  and 
share  a  12  square-meter  cell  with  20  naked  male  prisoners. 
Shortly  after  making  these  reports,  she  was  returned  to 
Ngaoundere  Prison,  where  she  was  reportedly  interrogated  about 
her  discussions  with  the  Western  diplomat  and  subjected  to 
further  mistreatment,  including  being  repeatedly  raped.   When 
she  fell  into  a  coma,  she  was  returned  to  the  hospital,  where 
she  died,  chained  to  her  bed. 

Other  examples  included  severe  police  beatings  in  January  of  a 
group  of  persons  demonstrating  peacefully  for  the  release  of 
political  prisoners  in  Garoua,  capital  of  the  North  Province. 
They  had  disobeyed  an  order  to  disperse  and  sat  on  the  ground. 
The  responsible  civil  administrator  was  later  transferred  to  an 
equivalent  position  in  another  area.   Following  unrest  in 
Yaounde  on  April  2,  state  television  showed  security  officers 
beating  the  bottoms  of  the  feet  of  two  prisoners  seated  on  the 
ground.   An  article  in  the  government-owned  newspaper  reporting 
the  trial  of  a  man  suspected  of  stealing  a  sewing  machine 
stated  in  part:   the  suspect  "denied  that  charge... but  he  later 
succumbed  to  the  allegations  under  torture."   On  another 
occasion,  the  government  newspaper  reported  that  an  angry  mob 
burned  the  houses  of  six  gendarmes  after  the  security  officers 
beat  five  suspects  about  the  feet  and  legs  so  badly  that  the 
men  could  no  longer  walk. 

In  another  instance,  in  the  town  of  Mora,  gendarmes  beat  dozens 
of  suspects  following  arson  attacks  on  their  homes  provoked  by 
the  May  16  shooting  death  of  a  local  youth.   In  several  cases, 
heads  of  households  were  stripped  naked  in  front  of  their  wives 
and  children  by  gendarmes  and  police,  a  practice  calculated  to 
inflict  special  humiliation  in  this  heavily  Muslim  area.   Naked 
prisoners  at  the  gendarmerie  brigade  in  Mora  were  crowded  in 
large  numbers  into  a  small  holding  cell  devoid  of  sanitary 
facilities.   At  least  30  persons  were  later  transferred  to  the 
gendarmerie  legion  headquarters  in  Maroua,  where  gendarmes 
subjected  the  detainees  to  beatings  and  other  torture  and 
degrading  treatment  twice  each  day  for  15  days.   Prisoners  were 
kicked,  had  the  bottoms  of  their  feet  beaten,  were  swung  from 
the  wrists  and  ankles,  were  ordered  to  pray  and  then  beaten 
about  the  head  for  so  doing,  and  were  compelled  to  engage  in 
acts  of  sodomy.   Many  showed  scarring  on  wrists,  hands,  and 
lower  legs  consistent  with  the  type  of  mistreatment  they  said 
they  suffered.   Some  had  medical  certificates  describing  their 
injuries . 



Security  forces  grossly  mistreated  opposition  figures 
throughout  the  year;  there  was  no  evidence  of  government  action 
or  intention  to  put  an  end  to  it.   On  July  5,  military,  police, 
and  gendarmes  sealed  a  group  of  opposition  leaders  inside  the 
private  home  of  Cameroon  Democratic  Union  President  Adamou 
Ndam-Njoya.   As  others  arrived  to  join  the  meeting,  they  were 
forced  to  undergo  humiliating  treatment.   For  example, 
according  to  an  eyewitness  report,  one  leader  of  a  minor  party 
was  forced  to  walk  the  length  of  the  street  on  his  knees, 
resulting  in  ruined  trousers  and  bloody  knees. 

In  another  incident,  members  of  several  opposition  political 
parties  were  meeting  on  the  premises  of  a  Douala  computer 
assembly  company  on  August  4  when  police  and  gendarmes  entered 
the  compound  firing  guns  and  tear  gas  canisters.   Also  present 
and  armed  were  a  local  administrative  officer  and  an  official 
of  the  ruling  CPDM.   Those  captured  were  split  into  two  groups, 
one  of  which  was  taken  to  the  gendarmerie  legion  headquarters 
where  eyewitnesses  report  they  saw  about  100  naked  men  and 
women  being  forced  to  walk  on  knees  and  elbows  across  gravel 
for  over  an  hour.   After  2  nights  spent  in  the  mud  and  rain, 
the  prisoners  were  split  into  groups  of  about  20  and  placed  in 
underground  cells  about  20  meters  square  beds  and  only 
a  sink  for  plumbing.   After  7  days,  they  wer-e  moved  to 
windowless  cells  in  another  location,  where  they  were  forced  to 
sleep  in  a  mixture  of  excrement  and  water  in  small  cells 
lacking  plumbing  of  any  kind.   During  this  time,  one  female 
detainee  was  denied  access  to  her  child  to  breastfeed  it. 

On  August  21,  following  a  confrontation  between  security  forces 
and  the  opposition  Social  Democratic  Front  (SDF)  in  Bafoussam, 
10  soldiers  badly  battered  a  number  of  civilians,  prompting  the 
Catholic  Bishop  to  protest  to  the  West  Province  Governor.   In 
response  to  inquiries  concerning  this  incident,  Douala 
authorities  claimed  those  detained  were  linked  to  an  arson 
attack;  however,  no  one  was  ever  charged. 

On  September  23  and  24,  authorities  in  Douala  took  into  custody 
24  opponents  of  the  Government  (see  also  Section  2.b.).   Though 
they  were  released  within  2  days,  most  suffered  serious 
mistreatment  while  in  detention.   Samuel  Eboua,  President  of 
the  National  Union  for  Democracy  and  Progress  (UNDP)  and  lawyer 
Charles  Tchoungang  were  among  those  hospitalized  as  a  result  of 
having  been  severely  beaten  with  iron  rods  and  rubber 
truncheons.   Progressive  Movement  (MP)  Party  President 
Jean-Jacques  Ekindi,  who  was  placed  under  house  arrest  and 
denied  access  to  visitors  for  an  additional  day  after  his 
release,  received  even  harsher  treatment. 

d.   Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Arbitrary,  prolonged  detention  remains  a  serious  problem. 
Under  Cameroonian  law,  a  person  arrested  for  a  nonpolitical 
offense  may  be  held  in  custody  up  to  24  hours  before  being 
charged.   The  period  may  be  renewed  three  times.   However, 
after  a  magistrate  has  issued  a  warrant  to  bring  the  case  to 
trial,  the  detainee  may  be  held  in  "pretrial  detention" 
indefinitely  pending  court  action.   Furthermore,  a  1990  law 
permits  detention  without  charge  for  renewable  periods  of  15 
days  "in  order  to  combat  banditry."   During  1991  public 
officials  sometimes  abused  this  authority  in  order  to  suppress 
political  expression.   The  number  of  arbitrary  detentions  that 
took  place  during  1991  is  impossible  to  estimate  accurately  but 
may  have  exceeded  10,000. 



A  presidential  decree  reducing  sentences  for  many  crimes,  an 
amnesty  law  voted  by  the  National  Assembly  in  April,  and  the 
conclusion  of  an  effort  by  the  Ministry  of  Justice  to  clear  the 
prisons  of  persons  being  held  for  reasons  no  longer  known,  cut 
the  national  prison  population  significantly  and  resulted  in 
the  closure  of  three  notorious  political  prisons.   The  amnesty 
law  brought  about  the  release  of  the  last  of  the  prisoners  held 
in  connection  with  the  failed  1984  coup  attempt.   In  the  Center 
Province  alone,  the  Justice  Ministry's  initiative  reduced  the 
number  of  persons  in  pretrial  detention  (i.e.,  awaiting  trial 
or  whose  cases  were  on  appeal)  from  2,568  to  671. 

Persons  taken  into  detention  are  frequently  denied  access 
either  to  legal  counsel  or  family  members.   The  law  permits 
release  on  bail  only  in  the  Anglophone  provinces,  whose  legal 
system  retains  features  of  British  common  law.   Even  there, 
bail  is  granted  infrequently.   CENER  and  SEMIL  do  not  implement 
fully  the  penal  code  requirement  that  detainees  be  brought 
before  a  magistrate  for  investigation  of  possible  offenses  and 
have  held  detainees  incommunicado.   Persons  placed  in 
administrative  detention  or  taken  into  custody  by  security 
forces  do  not  disappear.   They  are  eventually  released,  though 
the  families  are  not  always  informed  promptly  of  their 
whereabouts.   The  law  does  not  provide  for  judicial 
determination  of  the  legality  of  detention,  and  judicial 
authorities  are  precluded  from  acting  on  a  case  until  the 
administrative  authority  who  ordered  the  detention  turns  the 
case  over  to  the  prosecutor. 

On  August  29,  the  Lamido  of  Rey  Bouba,  a  powerful  traditional 
ruler  who  had  traveled  to  Garoua  to  welcome  President  Biya  to 
the  North  Province  capital,  took  50  local  residents  hostage 
after  Garoua  youths  stoned  his  motorcade.   In  spite  of  pleas 
from  local  authorities,  the  Lamido  refused  to  release  the 
hostages  until  after  his  return  to  Rey  Bouba.   During  the  time 
the  Lamido  was  holding  the  hostages.  President  Biya  decorated 
him  for  service  to  the  nation. 

Cameroon  does  not  generally  engage  in  the  practice  of  forced 
exile,  and  many  prominent  exiles  returned  to  Cameroon  in  1991. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  Cameroonian  court  system  is  subordinate  to  the  Ministry  of 
Justice.   Thus,  it  is  part  of  the  executive,  not  a  separate  or 
independent  branch  of  government.   Magistrates  in  Cameroon  are 
career  civil  servants  responsible  to  the  Minister  of  Justice, 
and  they  are  subject,  particularly  in  political  cases,  to 
government  direction.   Numerous  magistrates  have  commented  that 
rendering  a  decision  that  displeases  the  Government  may  result 
in  transfer  to  a  less  desirable  position.   However, 
magistrates'  decisions  in  nonpolitical  cases  are  not  usually 
subject  to  government  interference.   There  have  been  reported 
cases  of  the  Government  refusing  to  pay  damages  when  a  court 
has  found  against  it.   Public  trial  by  a  presiding  magistrate 
is  provided  for  in  law,  and  this  practice  is  followed  except  in 
the  case  of  persons  held  under  administrative  detention.   In 
late  1991,  Minister  of  Justice  Douala  Moutome  several  times 
enjoined  his  Ministry's  officials  to  be  fair  and  impartial  in 
the  conduct  of  their  duties. 

Traditional  courts  continue  to  play  an  important  role  in 
Cameroon,  particularly  in  rural  areas.   Their  authority  varies 
by  region  and  by  ethnic  group,  but  they  are  often  the  arbiters 
of  property  and  domestic  disputes  and  may  serve  a  probate 



function  as  well.   Most  traditional  courts  permit  appeal  of  . 
decisions  to  traditional  authorities  of  higher  rank. 

Civilians  accused  of  subversion  or  weapons  offenses  are  liable 
to  trial  before  the  State  Security  Court,  which  was  established 
by  a  law  enacted  in  late  1990.   This  Court  has  seven  members, 
five  of  whom  must  be  trained  magistrates;  these  were  not 
appointed  until  November  14,  so  the  Court  has  not  as  yet  heard 
any  cases.   This  Court's  ruling  may  not  be  appealed  except  with 
respect  to  a  point  of  law.   There  were  no  known  political 
prisoners  being  held  at  the  end  of  1991. 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

While  both  invasions  of  the  home  and  tampering  with 
correspondence  are  violations  of  Cameroonian  law,  there  have 
been  frequent  reports  of  police  harassing  citizens  and  entering 
homes  without  warrants  during  periodic  searches.   This  practice 
was  particularly  widespread  in  neighborhoods  near  Yaounde 
University  in  April  and  May  and  in  Douala  in  August  and 
September.   Police  officials  also  sometimes  enter  homes  and 
demand  to  see  receipts  for  household  property  as  a  customs  law 
enforcement  measure.   Surveillance  of  suspected  dissidents  and 
the  monitoring  of  their  mail  and  telephone  conversations  are 
common  practices. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Although  the  Constitution  of  1972  provides  for  freedom  of 
expression  and  of  the  press,  Cameroonian  law  and  practice  have 
long  restricted  these  freedoms.   While  there  are  no  overt 
restrictions  on  private  speech,  some  civil  servants  in  1991 
reported  having  been  subjected  to  involuntary  transfers, 
suspension  from  their  duties,  and  other  administrative 
sanctions  as  a  result  of  their  membership  in  or  support  of 
opposition  political  parties.   Such  actions  appear  to  have  been 
at  the  initiative  of  overzealous  supporters  of  the  Government 
or  ruling  CPDM  and  do  not  appear  to  be  derived  from  government 

In  late  1990,  a  new  law  established  more  liberal  regulations 
for  the  creation  of  newspapers  and  magazines  and  opened  the 
door  to  eventual  private  broadcasting.   That  same  law,  however, 
formally  enshrined  prepublication  censorship  and  granted  the 
Minister  of  Territorial  Administration  authority  to  suspend  the 
right  to  publish.   While  censorship  and  suspensions  may  be 
appealed,  the  competent  court  is  not  obliged  to  rule  until  1 
month  has  elapsed--with  obvious  ramifications  for 
time-sensitive  media. 

The  Government  publishes  two  official  newspapers — the  English 
and  French  editions  of  the  Cameroon  Tribune--and  controls  radio 
and  television  (the  most  important  media).   Most  official 
journalists  are  civil  servants  who  may  be  transferred  to  less 
desirable  positions  if  they  do  not  practice  self-censorship.   A 
number  of  television  journalists  were  taken  off  the  air  in  1991 
following  incidents  in  which  they  implied  disagreement  with 
government  actions.   The  government-controlled  broadcast  media 
also  provided  disproportionately  high  levels  of  coverage  to 
even  minor  CPDM  functions  while  blacking  out  the  most  important 
oppostdon  events. 



The  press  was  subjected  to  repeated  attacks  during  1991.   In 
January  two  journalists,  including  prominent  essayist  Celestin 
Monga,  were  arrested  and  charged  with  having  insulted  the 
President,  the  l.'ational  Assembly,  and  the  judiciary  in  an  "open 
letter"  to  President  Biya.   The  arrests  and  trial  provoked  an 
international  outcry  and  led  to  the  first  massive 
antigovernment  demonstrations  in  Douala  since  independence. 
The  journalists  were  convicted  and  given  token  sentences,  but 
censorship  was  subsequently  relaxed  for  several  months. 

Censorship  returned  with  a  vengeance  in  June  and  July  as 
seizures  of  newspapers  multiplied  rapidly.   Even  cartoons  were 
censored.   when  one  newspaper  attempted  to  publish  the  second 
in  a  series  of  articles  concerning  the  report  on  Cameroon  in 
the  U.S.  Department  of  State's  Country  Reports  on  Human  Rights 
Practices  for  1990,  the  entire  page  was  censored.   Although  the 
law  requires  that  publishers  be  notified  of  seizure  orders, 
that  prescription  was  seldom  followed  in  practice,  and  security 
forces  frequently  entered  kiosks  and  bookstores  and  confiscated 
copies  of  putatively  offensive  publications  without  formal 

On  July  22,  Minister  of  Information  and  Culture  Augustin 
Kontchou  Kouomegni  set  up  a  special  newspaper  reading  unit  at 
the  national  printing  company  charged  with  detecting  and 
censoring  anything  the  Government  deemed  unworthy  of 
publication.   Legally,  this  Ministry  has  no  authority  to  censor 
anything,  but  neither  President  Biya  nor  Prime  Minister  Hayatou 
ordered  Kontchou  to  dismantle  the  unit.   Many  publishers  began 
to  print  their  newspapers  in  Nigeria,  and  the  Government 
continued  its  policy  of  seizures.   Foreign  publications 
imported  into  Cameroon  are  also  occasionally  seized.   In 
October  the  Ministry  of  Information  and  Culture  proposed  a  code 
of  ethics  for  journalists  and  a  draft  law  governing  the 
exercise  of  the  journalistic  profession.   The  proposals  angered 
journalists,  who  viewed  them  as  another  heavy-handed  government 
attempt  to  censor  them. 

After  one  newspaper  published  a  document  establishing  that 
gendarmerie  authorities  in  Douala  had  taken  protection  money 
from  local  merchants.  Minister  of  Territorial  Administration 
Gilbert  Andze  Tsoungui  banned  three  independent  newspapers. 
The  newspapers  responded  by  changing  their  names  and  continuing 
to  publish.   The  Minister  promptly  banned  the  new 
publications.   In  mid-November,  the  bans  on  six  of  the  (by  that 
time)  seven  banned  papers  were  lifted  as  part  of  an  agreement 
between  the  Government  and  the  opposition.   On  September  4, 
security  forces  in  Douala  attacked  a  group  of  journalists  and 
other  citizens  protesting  the  banning  of  independent  newspapers 
and  invaded  the  offices  of  La  Detente,  where  some  of  the 
protesters  had  taken  refuge.   Employing  rubber  truncheons  and 
firing  live  ammunition  and  tear  gas,  the  security  forces 
brutally  took  some  40  persons  into  custody  for  several  hours. 
Several  of  those  detained  reportedly  suffered  serious  injuries, 
including  broken  limbs  and  at  least  one  gunshot  wound. 

There  are  no  restrictions  on  academic  freedom,  though  it  is 
generally  believed  that  CENER  informants  pervade  the  campus  of 
the  University  of  Yaounde.   Some  university  professors  believe 
that  their  political  viewpoints  and  activism  have  had  a 
negative  impact  on  professional  opportunities  and  advancement. 



b.   Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Freedom  of  assembly"  and  association  are  provided  for  in  law  but 
are  restricted  in  practice.   Laws  enacted  in  late  1990 
liberalized  Cameroonians '  ability  to  form  private  associations 
and  political  parties  but  did  not  address  the  formation  of 
labor  unions  (see  Section  6.a.).   The  Penal  Code  prohibits 
public  meetings,  demonstrations,  or  processions  without  prior 
government  approval.   The  1990  law  on  freedom  of  association 
provided  that  Cameroonians  may  freely  form  associations  simply 
by  notifying  the  responsible  administrative  authority  according 
to  a  set  procedure.   The  authority  is  required  formally  to 
acknowledge  that  notification  by  issuing  a  receipt  to  the 
associations'  organizers.   Barring  notification  to  the 
contrary,  the  group  is  considered  to  be  a  legal  entity  on  the 
60th  day  after  issuance  of  the  administrative  receipt.   In 
practice,  some  administrators  refused  to  issue  the  receipt 
called  for  by  law,  providing  instead  a  piece  of  paper  promising 
to  deliver  the  receipt  at  a  later  date.   As  a  result,  a  number 
of  groups  were  put  into  a  sort  of  legal  limbo,  neither 
authorized  nor  refused  authorization.   In  mid-July  Minister 
Tsoungui  banned  six  groups  on  the  grounds  that  they  had  engaged 
in  activities  not  foreseen  in  their  charters  and  had  advocated 
civil  disobedience.   The  organizations  banned  were:   the 
self-described  human  rights  groups,  Cap-Liberte,  Cameroon 
Organization  for  Human  Rights  (OCDH),  and  Human  Rights  Watch; 
the  women's  rights  group.  Collective  of  Women  for  the  New  Deal 
(CFR);  the  Cameroon  Professional  Drivers  Association;  and  the 
Sportsmen's  Association  of  Cameroon.   Although  the  law  permits 
organizations  to  appeal  a  banning  order,  the  groups  were  unable 
to  commence  action  for  nearly  6  weeks  because  the  Government 
refused  to  provide  the  official  notification  of  banning 
required  by  the  law  until  about  August  22.   Meanwhile,  law 
enforcement  and  administrative  authorities  took  action  to 
prevent  the  groups  in  question  from  holding  meetings. 

Authorities  continue  occasionally  to  compel  citizens  to  attend 
rallies  in  support  of  the  Government  or  the  ruling  party.   In 
March,  for  example,  the  subprefect  for  Maroua  wrote  a  decree 
ordering  traditional  rulers  in  his  jurisdiction  to  participate 
in  a  CPDM  meeting,  warning  that  "no  absence  would  be  tolerated.' 

The  1990  law  on  political  parties  established  criteria  for  the 
formation  of  political  parties.   Although  some  political  party 
leaders  expressed  suspicion  that  the  Government  was 
unreasonably  delaying  authorization  of  their  parties,  there  is 
no  evidence  that  government  officials  failed  to  respect  the 
letter  of  the  law  in  that  respect.   By  the  end  of  1991,  more 
than  40  political  parties  were  in  existence. 

The  Government's  record  on  permitting  parties  to  carry  out 
their  activities  is  not  nearly  so  positive.   While  the  law 
calls  for  7  days'  advance  notification  to  the  responsible 
administrative  authority  of  any  public  meeting  or  march,  the 
ruling  CPDM  was  on  several  occasions  permitted  to  schedule 
demonstrations  on  less  than  7  days'  notice.   Opposition 
parties,  on  the  other  hand,  frequently  experienced  the 
frustration  of  having  their  marches  canceled  at  the  last  minute 
by  civil  administrators  citing  vague  threats  to  public 
security.   As  tensions  rose  in  the  period  after  May  16 — when 
the  opposition  called  for  concerted  action  against  the  central 
Government — some  prefects  banned  all  demonstrations  of  a 
political  nature  in  their  areas  of  responsibility.   However,  in 
a  number  of  cases,  the  ruling  CPDM  was  nonetheless  permitted  to 
continue  to  hold  meetings  and  other  functions.   For  several 



months  during  1991,  the  opposition  Social  Democratic  Front 
(SDF)  sponsored  thrice-weekly  marches  in  Bamenda,  refusing  to 
seek  the  required  permit. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Cameroon  is  a  secular  state.   There  is  no  established 
religion.   Roughly  25  percent  of  Cameroonians  are  Muslims,  40 
percent  are  Christians,  and  the  rest  follow  traditional 
beliefs.   Some  blend  elements  of  Christianity  with  traditional 
practices.   Officials  of  the  Government  and  the  CPDM  include 
members  of  all  three  groups.   Freedom  of  religion  is  provided 
for  in  the  Constitution,  but  a  religious  group  must  be  approved 
and  registered  with  the  Ministry  of  Territorial  Administration 
in  order  to  exist  and  function  legally.   In  1991  a  small  group 
called  Universal  was  banned  without  explanation  in  the 
Southwest  Province.   Government  officials  state  that  no 
Jehovah's  Witnesses  are  imprisoned  as  a  result  of  their  beliefs 
and  that  the  Witnesses,  banned  from  1970  until  1990,  are  now 
free  to  practice  their  religion.   While  there  have  been 
isolated  incidents  of  religious  intolerance,  the  Government 
discourages  such  acts,  and  most  Cameroonians  are  proud  of  their 
tradition  of  religious  harmony. 

The  Government  does  not  discourage  the  practice  of  traditional 
religions.   Acts  of  witchcraft,  divination,  or  magic  "liable  to 
disrupt  public  order  or  tranquility,  or  to  harm  persons  or 
property"  are  outlawed,  with  potential  penalties  of  up  to  10 
years'  imprisonment.   Missionaries  played  a  major  role  in  the 
development  of  Cameroon  and  continue  to  be  active.   Foreign 
clergy  suffer  no  ill-treatment.   There  are  no  particular 
restrictions  on  places  of  worship,  the  training  of  clergy, 
religious  education,  or  participation  in  charitable 
activities.   Conversions  are  common.   Independent  Christian  and 
Muslim  publications  exist  in  Cameroon,  and  there  is  no  evidence 
they  are  more  heavily  censored  than  is  the  secular  press. 
There  are  no  restrictions  on  religious  travel,  such  as  the  hajj. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Freedom  of  movement  within  the  country  is  not  restricted  by 
law.   Police  frequently  stop  travelers  to  check  identification 
documents,  vehicle  registrations,  and  tax  receipts  as  a 
security  and  immigration  control  measure.   After  the  onset  of 
widespread  civil  unrest  in  mid-May,  the  checks  became  pervasive 
and  occasionally  oppressive.   Ordinary  citizens  were  at  times 
hindered  in  going  about  their  business  by  as  many  as  10 
roadblocks  within  a  100-kilometer  stretch  of  highway. 
Personnel  manning  these  roadblocks  frequently  solicit  bribes  to 
speed  passage.   Authorities  sometimes  employed  these  roadblocks 
to  limit  the  activities  of  political  parties.   At  one  time,  the 
road  between  Douala  and  Yaounde  was  closed  for  2  days  as  part 
of  a  government  effort  to  prevent  opposition  sympathizers  from 
traveling  to  the  capital. 

The  Government  has  sometimes  used  its  passport  control  function 
against  those  it  considers  real  or  potential  threats.   Writer 
and  economist  Celestin  Monga ' s  passport  was  seized  at  Douala 
International  Airport  on  orders  of  the  national  police  chief  in 
late  August  without  legal  justification.   Monga  said  he  was 
told  his  passport  was  "a  privilege  granted  to  you  by  the 
national  chief  of  police,  and  he  may  withdraw  it  at  any  time." 
During  the  same  period,  five  opposition  leaders  had  their 
planned  visit  to  France  in  late  August  disrupted  by  the 



Government's  decision  to  delay  their  departure  through 
temporary  passport  seizures  and  other  administrative  means. 
After  the  Bank  of  Credit  and  Commerce  International  (BCCI) 
collapsed  in  late  June,  many  Cameroonian  residents  of  Pakistani 
and  Indian  nationality  having  no  connection  to  BCCI  or  its 
Cameroonian  affiliate  were  temporarily  prevented  from  traveling 
outside  the  country  by  confiscation  of  their  passports. 

Over  the  years,  Cameroon  has  served  as  a  safe  haven  for 
thousands  of  displaced  persons  and  refugees.   An  estimated 
35,000  refugees  are  currently  in  Cameroon.   The  majority  are 
Chadians  who  arrived  in  the  early  1980 's  and  who  live, 
unregistered,  in  border  areas.   In  December  1990,  an  additional 
influx  of  3,500  refugees  entered  Cameroon  after  the  fall  of  the 
Habre  government  in  Chad.   Most  returned  to  Chad  in  early 
1991.   The  latest  group  of  Chadian  refugees  came  to  Cameroon  in 
October  1991.   Numbering  about  1,000,  they  are  being  assisted 
by  the  United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees  in  the 
Poll  Faro  refugee  camp.   Although  Cameroon  occasionally  returns 
illegal  Chadian  immigrants,  there  were  no  reports  of  forced 
repatriation  of  recognized  refugees  in  1991. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Major  legal  changes  effected  late  in  1990,  if  fully  and  fairly 
implemented,  would  permit  a  return  to  the  functioning 
multiparty  system  abandoned  in  1966.   Throughout  1991,  however, 
Cameroon  continued  to  be  a  de  facto  one-party  state  with 
political  power  and  administrative  authority  concentrated  in 
the  Presidency.   The  President  appoints  all  cabinet  members, 
governors,  and  prefects.   The  Prime  Minister,  whose  position 
was  restored  by  constitutional  amendment  in  1991,  has 
considerable  responsibility  in  the  economic  sphere  but  no  power 
to  remove  ministers  or  to  deal  directly  with  the  National 
Assembly.   However,  the  elected  National  Assembly  continued  a 
recent  trend  toward  playing  a  more  active  role  in  determining 
the  country's  direction. 

During  the  year,  many  opposition  political  parties  were 
authorized.   Widespread  dissatisfaction  with  the  Government  and 
the  CPDM  boosted  opposition  parties'  popularity.   A  coalition 
was  formed  among  the  opposition  parties  which  demanded  that  the 
Government  hold  a  national  conference.   The  Government  refused, 
arguing  that  such  a  meeting  would  be  nondemocratic  and 
extraconstitut ional .   In  response,  the  opposition  organized  a 
series  of  general  strikes  and  acts  of  civil  disobedience,  known 
as  "Operation  Ghost  Towns,"  which  lasted  from  mid-May  until 
early  December.   In  December  President  Biya  promulgated  a  new 
electoral  code,  which,  together  with  constitutional  amendments 
enacted  earlier,  delineates  a  parliamentary  system  under  which 
the  Prime  Minister  would  be  chosen  from  the  party  or  parties 
comprising  the  National  Assembly's  majority.   In  October 
President  Biya  announced  that  multiparty  elections  would  be 
held  on  February  16,  1992.   At  year's  end,  most  opposition 
parties  were  lobbying  strongly  for  a  date  in  late  May  amid 
numerous  credible  reports  of  irregularities  in  the  voter 
registration  process. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

In  November  President  Biya  named  members  to  the  National 
Committee  on  Human  Rights  And  Liberties  which  he  had  created  a 

50-726  -  92 



year  earlier.   At  year's  end,  government  officials  indicated 
that  these  members  would  be  installed  in  January  1992.   The 
decree  which  established  the  committee  stipulated  that  it  would 
act  as  Cameroon's  official  link  to  nongovernmental 
organizations  concerned  about  human  rights  issues. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Access  to  the  Government's  social  programs  is  open  to  all 
Cameroonian  citizens  on  a  nondiscriminatory  basis.   President 
Biya  has  repeatedly  stressed  publicly  the  dangers  of  tribalism, 
but  there  remains  deep-seated  suspicion  among  ethnic  groups,  to 
which  government  officials  are  far  from  immune.   Cameroon  is 
officially  bilingual,  but  the  Anglophone  minority  (20  percent) 
often  charges  that  it  is  denied  economic  opportunity  and  real 
political  power.   The  Francophone  Bamileke,  the  country's 
largest  single  ethnic  group  (also  about  20  percent  of  the 
population),  level  similar  charges  against  the  rest  of  the  body 
politic.   Following  unrest  at  Yaounde  University  in  April  and 
May,  security  forces  frequently  targeted  Anglophone  and 
Bamileke  students  for  harassment  solely  because  of  their 
linguistic/ethnic  affiliation.   Most  observers  agree  that 
interethnic  animosity  became  more  open  and  more  venomous  during 
1991.   Independent  newspapers  associated  with  the  opposition 
frequently  attacked  the  Beti,  while  those  close  to  the 
Government  fulminated  against  the  Bamileke,  Anglophones,  and, 
to  a  lesser  extent.  Northerners. 

Women  are  granted  equal  rights  under  the  Constitution,  and  some 
are  politically  active  in  the  party  and  the  sole  legal  labor 
federation.   However,  significant  cultural  pressure  is  brought 
to  bear  on  women  to  remain  subservient  to  men.   Polygamy  is 
permitted  by  law  and  tradition,  but  polyandry  is  not.   The 
extent  to  which  a  woman  may  inherit  from  her  husband  is 
normally  governed  by  customary  law  in  the  absence  of  a  will, 
and  traditions  vary  from  group  to  group.   In  cases  of  divorce, 
the  husband's  wishes  determine  custody  of  children  over  the  age 
of  six.   A  married  woman  may  not  legally  obtain  contraceptives 
without  her  husband's  consent;  neither  may  she  be  sterilized 
without  his  authorization.   While  a  man  can  be  convicted  of 
adultery  only  if  the  sexual  act  takes  place  in  his  home,  a 
female  can  be  convicted  irrespective  of  venue. 

In  many  traditional  societies,  custom  grants  greater  authority 
and  benefits  to  male  than  to  female  heirs.   The  percentage  of 
female  secondary  school  students  increased  by  45  percent 
between  1970  and  1986.   Girls  made  up  45.7  percent  of  primary 
school  pupils  in  1986,  but  that  percentage  drops  to  38.3 
percent  at  the  secondary  level  and  to  only  14  percent  at 
university  level. 

Women's  rights  advocates  report  that  violence  against  women  has 
surged  in  the  past  2  years,  and  the  law  does  not  impose 
effective  penalties  against  violators.   Wife  beating  is  not,  of 
itself,  a  legal  ground  for  divorce.   Most  women  regard  having 
been  the  victim  of  a  sexual  assault  as  so  profoundly  shameful 
that  they  cannot  bring  themselves  to  confront  the  assailant. 
The  commission  investigating  the  behavior  of  security  forces 
during  unrest  at  Yaounde  University  wrote,  "We  found  that  the 
chances  that  there  were  rapes  are  very  high,  but  no  young  woman 
presented  herself  to  be  heard."   Frequently,  a  victim's  family 
or  village  takes  matters  into  its  own  hands  and  imposes  direct, 
summary  punishment  upon  the  suspected  perpetrator  through  means 
ranging  from  destruction  of  property  to  lynching. 



While  there  are  no  reliable  statistics  on  the  frequency  with 
which  violence  against  women  takes  place,  newspaper  articles 
indicate  the  frequency  is  high.   Female  circumcision  is  not 
common  in  Cameroon-.   It  is  practiced  by  a  limited  number  of 
traditional  Muslim  families  and  is  almost  unheard  of  in  other 
groups . 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

The  1990  law  on  associations  specifically  excluded  trade 
unions,  and  there  is  still  no  law  pertaining  to  the 
organization  of  trade  unions.   There  are  reports  of  at  least 
three  nascent  trade  unions  that  find  themselves  unable  to 
function  fully  because  of  the  ambiguity  of  their  status.   Civil 
servants  are  not  permitted  to  join  trade  unions. 

The  Organization  of  United  Cameroonian  Workers  (OSTC) ,  the 
umbrella  group  for  the  country's  officially  sanctioned  trade 
unions,  announced  during  1991. that,  because  Cameroon  was  moving 
toward  a  multiparty  system,  it  had  severed  its  formal  links 
with  the  ruling  CPDM  and  would  henceforth  be  neutral  within  the 
context  of  party  politics. 

Strikes  are  authorized  only  on  a  few,  severely  restricted 
grounds;  likewise,  political  activity  by  trade  unions,  except 
for  action  designed  to  protect  economic  and  other  interests,  is 
prohibited.   Strikes  do  occur,  however,  though  they  are  usually 
directed  at  single  enterprises  and  seldom  last  more  than  a  few 
days.   Most  strikes  during  1991  were  by  employees  of 
government-owned  enterprises  seeking  payment  of  overdue  wages 
and  salaries.   Most  strikes  were  settled  through  negotiation, 
but  the  Government  showed  mixed  tolerance  for  strikers  trying 
to  attract  the  attention  of  higher  authorities  to  their 
concerns . 

The  OSTC  is  a  member  of  the  continentwide  official  trade  union 
body,  the  Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity,  but  all 
contact  with  foreign  trade  union  organizations  requires 
government  authorization. 

The  International  Labor  Organization's  (ILO)  Committee  of 
Experts  (COE)  noted  once  again  in  1991  that  various  legislative 
provisions,  which  regulate  the  right  of  public  servants  to 
organize,  restrict  their  right  to  strike,  and  ban  foreign 
workers  from  trade  union  office,  are  inconsistent  with  ILO 
Convention  87  on  freedom  of  association. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Although  the  Labor  Code  recognizes  the  right  of  trade  unions  or 
trade  union  federations  to  engage  in  collective  bargaining  with 
employers  or  groups  of  employers,  true  collective  bargaining 
between  employers  and  workers  is  rare.   Under  the  law,  all 
employers  of  more  than  10  workers  must  permit  the  election  of  a 
worker  representative  from  among  the  employees.   This  worker 
representative  has  a  statutory  right  to  discuss  labor 
conditions  with  the  employer  on  behalf  of  the  employees  and 
enjoys  special  protection  from  arbitrary  dismissal.   Candidates 
for  these  positions  must  be  approved  by  the  OSTC.   While  the 
Labor  Code  does  not  provide  specific  penalties  for  those  who 
violate  its  provisions,  it  does  state  that  any  act  in 
contravention  of  its  provisions  shall  be  null  and  void.   Also, 



employees  may,  and  often  successfully  do,  pursue  formal  labor 
complaints,  which  often  include  demands  for  payment  of  damages. 

There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  Cameroon,  but  one  is  in 
the  formative  stages,  and  others  are  under  consideration. 
Legislation  enacted  to  govern  operations  within  such  zones 
states  that  "the  current  terms  and  conditions  of  employment 
must  be  consistent  with  internationally  accepted  workers' 
rights . " 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor  is  prohibited  by  the  Labor  Code.   However, 
concerns  expressed  in  1990  by  the  ILO's  Conference  Committee  on 
the  Application  of  Conventions  and  Recommendations  concerning 
the  use  of  prison  labor  (inmates  from  Cameroon's  "production 
prisons"  are  sometimes  rented  out  to  private  employers  as  day 
labor)  remained  valid  in  1991.   There  have  been  reports  of 
communal  labor  being  employed  in  some  traditional  societies. 
In  December  the  government-owned  newspaper  reported  that 
"slavery  is  still  practiced"  in  Rey  Bouba  (see  also  Section 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  Labor  Code  sets  the  minimum  working  age  at  14 — a  rule  that 
appears  to  be  respected  and  enforced  in  the  modern  wage 
sector .   Inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of  Labor  are  empowered  to 
enforce  provisions  of  Cameroon's  Labor  Code,  as  are  labor 
courts.   In  rural  areas,  where  80  percent  of  Cameroon's 
citizens  engage  in  farming,  children  participate  at  an  early 
age  in  agricultural  work  alongside  adults.   In  addition,  young 
relatives,  especially  girls  from  rural  areas,  are  often 
employed  in  the  household  as  domestics.   Street  vendors  in 
urban  areas  are  occasionally  under  age  14. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimum  monthly  wages  are  set  by  the  Government  for  all  public 
and  private  sector  jobs  and  cover  a  wide  range.   These  rates 
are  determined  by  a  complex  formula  which  takes  into  account 
geographic  location,  education,  experience,  and  profession  and 
type  of  industry.   The  Ministry  of  Labor  is  responsible  for 
making  the  necessary  calculations.   Most  workers  in  the  modern 
sector  are  paid  well  in  excess  of  the  minimum  wage.   The  lowest 
wages  are  insufficient  to  support  a  family  but  usually  are 
supplemented  by  a  second  job  or  another  family  member's 
earnings.   Workers  with  middle-range  wages  also  are  likely  to 
need  second  incomes  to  support  a  family,  especially  in  Yaounde 
and  Douala. 

Under  the  Labor  Code,  the  minimum  annual  paid  vacation  is  18 
days,  and  the  legal  workweek  ranges  from  40  hours  for 
nonagricultural  employees  to  56  hours  per  week  for  security 
guards.   In  order  to  make  room  for  younger  workers,  civil 
servants  are  encouraged  to  retire  upon  reaching  the  minimum 
retirement  age  of  55.    The  Ministry  of  Labor  sets  health  and 
safety  standards,  which  are  enforced  by  labor  inspectors. 
Enforcement  of  standards  varies.   Labor  inspectors  will 
generally  investigate  complaints  and  frequently  find  for  the 
complainant.   However,  many  employees  are  loath  to  file 
complaints,  and  spot  inspections  are  rare. 



In  1991  Cape  Verde  became  the  first  African  country  to  change 
governments  peacefully  following  a  popular  election  won  by  an 
opposition  party. -  Dr.  Antonio  Mascarenhas  Monteiro,  an 
independent,  won  over  70  percent  of  the  popular  vote  in  the 
February  elections  and  was  inaugurated  as  President  in  March 
1991.   The  Movement  for  Democracy  (MPD) ,  headed  by  Dr.  Carlos 
Wahnon  de  Carvalho  Veiga,  also  won  over  70  percent  of  the 
popular  vote  in  the  January  legislative  elections.   The  new 
Government,  with  Carlos  Veiga  as  Prime  Minister  and  concurrent 
Defense  Minister,  was  invested  in  April.   Both  the  President 
and  the  Prime  Minister  came  to  office  with  strong  human  rights 
credentials . 

The  new  Government  began  in  1991  to  reorganize  and  democratize 
the  security  forces,  including  disbanding  the  secret  police. 
It  accelerated  preparations  to  create  a  coast  guard  as  a 
nucleus  of  a  reorganized  military  force,  dedicated  to  the 
protection  of  Cape  Verde's  exclusive  economic  zone  and  to  drug 
interdiction.   Control  of  the  police  and  local  administration 
are  being  decentralized  and  will  be  in  the  hands  of  locally 
elected  mayors  and  municipal  councils.   The  police  force  is 
being  demilitarized  and  patterned  after  police  forces  in 
Western  democracies. 

Cape  Verde  has  few  exploitable  natural  resources,  aside  from  an 
attractive  climate,  a  hardworking  population  (350,000),  and  a 
strategically  placed  geographic  position.   Cape  Verdeans  have  a 
long  history  of  economically  driven  emigration,  primarily  to 
Western  Europe  and  the  United  States.   In  1991  Cape  Verde, 
which  is  unable  to  produce  enough  food  to  feed  its  population 
in  years  of  optimum  rainfall,  experienced  its  worst  drought 
since  1985,  requiring  substantial  international  food  aid.   The 
Government  set  in  motion  plans  to  privatize  many  of  Cape 
Verde's  state-owned  firms  and  to  base  future  development  on  the 
private  sector. 

In  1991  the  human  rights  climate  in  Cape  Verde  improved 
significantly  with  the  change  from  an  authoritarian,  Marxist 
centralized  government.   The  first  decision  taken  by  the  Veiga 
Government  prohibits  private  or  official  investigations  of 
citizens  to  determine  their  political  affiliation.   The 
Government's  5-year  plan,  adopted  at  the  first  multiparty 
National  Assembly  session  in  June,  enshrined  a  commitment  to 
pluralistic  democracy  and  a  basic  liberal  economic  framework. 
The  new  Government  disbanded  the  popular  militas  and  the 
popular  courts,  which  had  been  instruments  of  party  and 
government  control,  and  established  a  human  rights  commission 
to  serve  as  a  watchdog  against  human  rights  abuses. 


Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reported  instances  of  political  or  other 
extrajudicial  killings  in  1991. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reported  instances  of  disappearances. 



c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Police  brutality  has  not  been  a  problem  in  1990  and  1991.   In 
1991  one  of  the  first  acts  of  the  new  Government  was  to  disband 
the  secret  police,  which  had  been  accused  in  the  past  of 
abusing  prisoners.   There  was  no  evidence  of  torture  or  other 
cruel,  inhuman,  or  degrading  treatment  or  punishment  during  the 
year  . 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Cape  Verdean  law  requires  that  an  accused  person,  unless  caught 
in  the  act  of  committing  a  crime,  be  brought  before  a  judge  to 
be  charged  within  48  hours  of  arrest.   Additionally,  a  person 
may  not  be  arrested  without  court  order  unless  caught  in  the 
act  of  committing  a  felony.   In  exceptional  cases,  with  the 
concurrence  of  a  court  official,  the  formal  charge  process  may 
be  delayed  up  to  5  days  after  the  arrest.   These  provisions  are 
observed  in  practice. 

However,  for  crimes  against  state  security,  persons  may  be 
detained  for  up  to  5  months  without  trial  upon  a  judge's 
ruling.   Prior  to  1991,  this  loophole  was  occasionally  abused, 
especially  in  cases  of  arbitrary  arrest  by  members  of  the 
"popular  militia,"  a  paramilitary  organization  associated  with 
the  former  ruling  party  but  disbanded  by  the  new  Government. 
There  were  no  known  security  detentions  in  1991.   There  is  a 
functioning  system  of  bail,  and  everyone  is  entitled  to 
representation  by  an  attorney  in  civil  or  criminal  cases. 

There  were  no  known  instances  of  forced  exile  for  political  or 
other  reasons . 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  judicial  system  includes  a  Supreme  Court,  whose  members  are 
appointed  by  the  Government,  and  regional  courts.   The 
autonomous  Institute  for  Judicial  Support,  to  which  most 
private  lawyers  belong,  provides  counsel  for  indigent 
defendants.   Trials  are  conducted  by  one  judge,  without  a  jury, 
and  appear  to  be  handled  expeditiously.   Trials  are  public,  and 
evidence  suggests  that  the  courts  protect  individual  rights  in 
criminal  cases.   Verdicts  may  be  appealed.   Regional  courts 
adjudicate  minor  disputes  on  a  local  level  in  rural  areas.   The 
judges,  appointees  of  the  Ministry  of  Justice,  are  usually 
prominent  local  citizens  without  legal  training. 
Regional  court  decisions  may  be  appealed  to  the  Supreme  Court. 

In  1991  it  was  widely  perceived  that  there  had  been  increased 
judicial  independence  under  the  new  Government.   There  were  no 
known  political  prisoners  at  the  end  of  1991. 

f.  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

The  Constitution  recognizes  the  citizen's  rights  to  the 
inviolability  of  domicile,  correspondence,  and  other  means  of 
communication,  and  these  rights  are  respected  in  practice.   The 
law  requires  warrants  issued  by  a  judge  before  searches  of 
homes  may  be  conducted. 


Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Constitution  proclaims  freedom  of  speech  and  intellectual 
creativity,  including  the  rights  of  authorship.   However,  it 
also  stipulates  that  none  of  these  rights  and  freedoms  may  be 
exercised  "contrary  to  national  unity."   While  freedom  of  the 
press  is  not  a  specific  constitutional  guarantee,  a  law  adopted 
in  December  1985  assures  citizens  the  right  to  express  their 
thoughts  in  the  press  in  a  responsible  manner.   Although  the 
term  "responsible  manner"  is  not  defined  in  law,  no  journalist 
or  newspaper  has  been  punished  for  actions  considered  to  be 
irresponsible.   There  is  no  evidence  to  indicate  that 
self-censorship  is  a  significant  factor  in  Cape  Verde. 

Throughout  1991,  the  most  widely  read  newspaper,  the  radio,  and 
the  television,  all  government  owned,  gave  balanced  coverage  to 
government  and  opposition  viewpoints.   The  first  multiparty 
National  Assembly  session  was  broadcast  live  in  its  entirety. 
After  the  new  Government  was  invested,  the  official  newspaper 
Vozdipovo  dedicated  the  first  page  to  letters  to  the  editor, 
generally  half  supportive  and  half  critical  of  the  Government. 

The  Prime  Minister  announced  at  midyear  that  the  Government 
would  no  longer  subsidize  advertisements  by  state-owned  firms 
in  the  major  opposition  newspaper.   The  Government  said  it  had 
no  obligation  to  subsidize  a  partisan  journal  through  its 
advertising.   The  move  was  seen  as  giving  unfair  advantage  to 
the  ruling  party.   Local  radio  broadcasts  carry  items  from  a 
variety  of  international  press  sources,  generally  balancing 
coverage  and  identifying  sources  on  controversial  international 
issues . 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  1980  Constitution  provided  for  the  freedom  to  assemble, 
associate,  and  demonstrate;  however,  in  practice  these  freedoms 
were  limited  to  the  party  meetings  and  groups  in  power  until 
1990.   In  1990  the  National  Assembly  adopted  a  law  permitting 
political  associations  to  form  and  assemble  publicly,  and 
subsequently  it  legalized  political  opposition  parties.   By 
early  1991,  two  political  parties  contested  the  democratic 
elections,  the  African  Party  for  the  Independence  of  Cape  Verde 
(PAICV,  the  Government)  and  the  MPD .   Later  in  1991,  the 
Independent  and  Democratic  Cape  Verde  Union  (UCID)  was  also 
legalized  as  a  political  party  by  the  Supreme  Court. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

The  Constitution  requires  separation  of  church  and  state. 
Freedom  of  worship  is  respected  by  the  Government;  members  of 
all  faiths  practice  their  religion  without  harassment.   Some  80 
to  90  percent  of  the  population,  including  much  of  the 
government  leadership,  is  nominally  Catholic. 

There  are  no  restrictions  on  religious  practices,  teaching,  or 
contacts  with  coreligionists  outside  Cape  Verde.   Foreign 
missionaries  operate  freely  in  Cape  Verde;  more  than  half  of 
the  Catholic  clergy  are  foreigners.   Cape  Verdean  immigration 
law  requires  that  missionaries  applying  for  residence  belong  to 
a  denomination  with  a  recognized  membership  in  Cape  Verde.   In 
this  context,  two  American  Mormon  missionaries  were  asked  to 
leave  Cape  Verde  in  1989  after  their  visitor's  visas  expired; 
however,  American  Mormon  missionaries  were  readmitted  to  Cape 



Verde  in  1990,  and  in  1991  the  American  Nazarenne  Evangelists 
opened  three  new  churches.   There  is  also  a  small  community  of 
Muslims  who  are  free  to  practice  in  Praia. 

d.   Freedom  of  Movement  within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

There  are  no  extraordinary  legal  or  administrative  restrictions 
on  travel  or  residence  in  Cape  Verde.   Indeed,  the  Government 
maintains  an  office  to  serve  intending  emigrants.   A  law 
requiring  citizens  wishing  to  leave,  either  temporarily  or 
permanently,  to  obtain  an  exit  permit  was  abolished  in  late 
1991.   Permission  has  not  been  denied  for  political  reasons. 
Historically,  emigration  has  been  an  important  and  recognized 
means  to  escape  from  harsh  economic  conditions.   The  Government 
maintains  close  contact  with  emigre  communities  and  encourages 
Cape  Verdeans  living  abroad,  including  dual  nationals,  to 
maintain  ties  with  their  homeland.   Nationality  laws  were 
passed  in  1990  to  permit  Cape  Verdeans  who  had  accepted  a 
second  nationality  to  reapply  for  Cape  Verdean  citizenship. 

Repatriation  is  a  constitutional  right  that  is  not  discouraged 
by  the  Government.   On  the  other  hand,  the  law  allows  for 
revocation  of  citizenship  on  several  grounds,  including 
activities  contrary  to  the  interest  of  the  country.   However, 
there  were  no  known  cases  of  the  Government  having  instituted 
proceedings  to  deprive  persons  of  citizenship  or  residence  in 
Cape  Verde  for  political  reasons.   This  includes  the  period  of 
the  hotly  contested  legislative  and  presidential  elections  in 
early  1991,  when  Cape  Verdeans  resident  abroad  challenged  the 
incumbent  Government . 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

After  15  years  of  one-party,  postcolonial  rule  by  the  PAICV, 
Democracy  came  to  Cape  Verde  in  January  1991.   For  the  first 
time  Cape  Verdean  citizens  had  a  clear  choice  between 
candidates,  and  they  flocked  to  the  polls  to  elect  new 
legislative  leadership.   The  opposition  party,  the  MPD,  won 
with  over  70  percent  of  the  popular  vote.   Cape  Verdeans 
repeated  this  performance  1  month  later,  by  electing  President 
Antonio  Mascarenhas,  over  the  long-time  PAICV  incumbent 
Aristides  Pereira.   During  the  campaign,  the  victors  promised 
democracy,  scrupulous  observance  of  human  rights,  and  economic 
liberalization.   Throughout  1991  Cape  Verde's  new  leadership 
has  made  efforts  to  carry  out  its  campaign  promises.   Members 
of  the  former  government  indicated  acceptance  of  their  role  as 
the  opposition,  and  the  PAICV  began  reorganizing  itself  with 
the  aim  of  contesting  future  elections. 

The  local  elections  held  in  mid-December  were  the  final  phase 
in  freely  electing  political  institutions  at  all  levels  of 
government.   The  predominant  campaign  themes  centered  on  social 
justice  and  a  fair  distribution  of  scarce  resources.   The 
elections  were  orderly,  and  there  was  no  evidence  of  electoral 

Under  the  former  PAICV-dominated  government,  the  Presidency 
gained  greatly  enhanced  powers.   Specifically,  the  President  is 
authorized  to  appoint  and  dismiss  the  Prime  Minister  subject 
only  to  parliamentary  confirmation,  to  dissolve  the  National 
Assembly,  within  certain  restrictions,  and  to  veto 
legislation.   An  absolute  majority  is  required  for  the 
legislature  to  override  a  veto.   During  the  1991  legislative 



campaign,  the  MPD  vowed  to  rewrite  the  Constitution  with  one  of 
the  announced  aims  to  diminish  presidential  powers. 
Subsequently,  to  allow  time  for  public  consultations,  the  new 
Governm.ent  postponed  introducing  a  new  Constitution  to  the 
National  Assembly  until  1992. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  violations 
of  Human  Rights 

While  there  are  no  official  restrictions,  no  private  human 
rights  groups  have  formed  to  date.   In  late  1991,  the 
Government  established  a  human  rights  commission  with  the 
objective  of  raising  popular  consciousness  of  the  need  for 
respect  for  human  rights  at  the  individual  and  institutional 
levels.   Cape  Verde  has  traditionally  cooperated  fully  with 
representatives  of  private  human  rights  organizations  who  visit 
Cape  Verde  periodically  to  investigate  alleged  violations. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Racial  discrimination  is  not  a  problem  in  Cape  Verde  where  the 
vast  majority  of  the  population  shares  Portuguese  and  African 
ancestry.   Sex  discrimination  is  banned  by  the  Constitution, 
and  the  family  code,  enacted  in  October  1981,  prescribes  the 
full  equality  of  men  and  women  in  law,  including  equal  pay  for 
equal  work.   However,  traditional  male-oriented  Portuguese  and 
African  values  predominate,  and  women  are,  in  fact,  excluded 
from  certain  types  of  employment  and  are  often  paid  less  than 
men.    Educational  statistics  show  53  percent  male/47  percent 
female  enrollments  through  secondary  school,  30/70  percent  in 
the  technical  school,  and  55/45  percent  in  the  teachers' 
training  school . 

In  1991  the  Government  made  efforts  to  involve  more  women  in 
political,  economic,  and  social  activities.   In  addition  to 
naming  two  women  as  secretaries  of  state,  women  also  were 
appointed  head  of  the  hospital  in  Cape  Verde's  second  largest 
city,  head  of  the  largest  state-owned  enterprise,  head  of  the 
national  health  program,  and  head  of  the  health  program  for 
Praia,  the  largest  municipality.   A  conscious  effort  is  made  to 
employ  women  in  labor-intensive  economic  development  projects 
financed  by  foreign  grants.   The  Organization  of  Cape  Verdean 
Women  was  founded  in  1980,  with  government  encovaragement ,  to 
sensitize  the  citizenry  to  issues  affecting  women.   It 
continues  to  operate,  even  though  it  no  longer  is  subsidized  by 
the  new  Government . 

Domestic  violence  against  women,  including  wife  beating, 
remains  common,  particularly  in  the  rural  areas.   Crimes  such 
as  rape  and  spouse  abuse  are  rarely  brought  to  the  attention  of 
the  police  or  tried  in  the  courts.   Neither  the  Government  nor 
the  womens '  organizations  has  addressed  directly  the  issue  of 
violence  against  women.   The  Ministry  of  Health  and  Social 
Affairs  has  undertaken,  with  U.S.  financial  assistance,  to 
publicize  the  civil  and  human  rights  of  women  and  children. 

Section  6   Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

All  workers  are  legally  free  to  form  and  join  unions  of  their 
choosing,  and  no  longer  must  belong  to  the  National  Union  of 
Cape  Verde  Workers--Trade  Union  Confederation  (UNTC-CS) .   In 



1991  the  new  Government  broke  all  ties,  including  subsidies,  to 
the  UNTC-CS  which  had  been  controlled  by  the  previous 
government  and  party  in  power.   The  UNTC-CS  has  attempted  to 
adapt  to  the  new  situation  and  in  1991,  for  the  first  time, 
took  positions  independent  of  those  of  the  Government.   In 
addition  to  suffering  serious  financial  problems,  UNTC-CS 
membership  declined  as  Cape  Verde  began  to  privatize  the 
economy  with  a  subsequent  loss  of  patronage  jobs  in  the  heavily 
staffed  public  sector  of  the  economy. 

Legislation  passed  in  September  1990  guarantees  workers  the 
legal  right  to  strike.   There  were  periodic  strikes  throughout 
1991,  most  frequently  in  the  state-owned  organizations.   Unions 
are  now  free  to  affiliate  internationally,  and  the  UNTC-CS 
joined  the  International  Confederation  of  Free  Trade  Unions  in 
1991  . 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Legislation  provides  the  right  to  organize  and  function  without 
hindrance.   Workers  and  management  reach  agreement  through 
collective  bargaining  in  the  small  private  sector.   However, 
despite  the  new  Government's  plans  to  denationalize,  it 
remains   the  largest  employer  and  continues  to  play  a  dominant 
role  in  setting  wages  and  other  benefits  for  most  of  the 
economy.   Cape  Verde  does  not  have  an  export  processing  zone. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 
Forced  labor  is  forbidden  by  law  and  is  not  practiced. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  age  for  employment  is  14,  and  children  under  16  are 
prohibited  from  working  at  night,  for  more  than  7  hours  per 
day,  or  in  establishments  where  toxic  products  are  used.   There 
is  no  enforcement  mechanism  for  minimum  age  laws,  but 
observance  is  not  a  problem  in  the  small  informal  sector  of  an 
economy  in  which  unemployment  and  underemployment  approached  70 
percent  of  the  work  force. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimum  wage  rates  are  established  by  the  Government  for  both 
the  public  and  private  sectors.   These  minimum  wages  are  not 
sufficient  to  provide  a  worker  and  his  family  a  decent  standard 
of  living,  and  most  workers  must  rely  on  a  combination  of 
second  jobs,  extended  family  help,  or  subsistence  agriculture. 
All  enterprises  must  submit  a  yearly  report  to  the  Director 
General  of  Labor  with  information  on  salaries  and  wages  of  all 
employees.   This  provides  the  Government  with  a  vehicle  for 
controlling  employment  practices. 

The  normal  workweek  for  adults  is  44  hours  over  5  1/2  days, 
with  at  least  1  free  day  per  week.   While  large  employers 
generally  respect  these  regulations  and  minimum  wage  standards, 
many  employed  in  domestic  service  or  by  small  employers  in 
rural  areas  do  not  enjoy  legally  mandated  work  conditions. 
There  does  not  appear  to  be  an  overall  safety  and  health  code, 
although  some  regulations  exist  in  this  area.   The  Director 
General  of  Labor,  under  the  Ministry  of  Justice,  Public 
Administration  and  Labor,  is  responsible  for  enforcing  labor 
regulations.   However,  Cape  Verde  has  few  industries  that 
employ  heavy  or  dangerous  equipment,  and  work-related  accidents 
are  uncommon.   Consequently,  there  is  no  systematic  government 
enforcement  of  labor  laws. 



The  Central  African  Republic  (C.A.R.)  has  been  ruled  since  1981 
by  General  Andre  Dieudonne  Kolingba,  who  came  to  power  in  a 
bloodless  coup  and',  with  backing  from  the  military,  has  since 
exercised  virtually  full  political  control.   In  1986  General 
Kolingba  was  elected  unopposed  to  a  6-year  term  as  President, 
and  a  Constitution  was  adopted  establishing  a  National 
Assembly.   The  following  year  the  Central  African  Democratic 
Assembly  Party  (RDC)  was  formed  as  the  sole  legal  party.   Faced 
with  growing  public  discontent.  General  Kolingba  announced  in 
April  1991  that  other  parties  legally  registered  by  the 
Ministry  of  the  Interior  could  compete  with  the  RDC  for 
legislative  elections  in  March  1992  and  for  presidential 
elections  in  November  1992.   At  year's  end  there  were  15 
registered  parties,  and  the  Government  continued  to  move  slowly 
toward  political  liberalization. 

The  Ministry  of  Defense  controls  military  and  national 
gendarmerie  forces  totaling  4,000  troops.   These  forces  share 
internal  security  responsibilities  with  the  civilian  police 
force  under  the  Ministry  of  Public  Security,  which  is 
responsible  for  normal  police  functions.   President  Kolingba 
controls  a  1,400-man  presidential  security  force  led  by  150 
French  advisers. 

The  C.A.R.  is  a  landlocked  and  sparsely  populated  country,  most 
of  whose  inhabitants  practice  subsistence  agriculture.   The 
principal  agricultural  exports  are  coffee,  cotton,  timber,  and 
tobacco.   Since  1982  the  Government  has  tried  to  implement 
economic  structural  reforms  in  cooperation  with  international 
donors.   However,  with  continuing  unfavorable  world  economic 
trends  and  corruption  and  mismanagement  in  government,  progress 
has  remained  elusive.   Also,  workers  became  increasingly 
discontented  in  1991,  and  labor  unrest  throughout  the  year 
paralyzed  the  economy  and  public  administration. 

Human  rights  remained  circumscribed  in  1991.   Major  abuses  were 
the  use  of  arbitrary  arrest  and  detention  against  political 
opponents  and  workers;  repeated  interference  in  the  judicial 
process;  and  continued  abridgements  of  freedoms  of  speech, 
press,  assembly,  and  worker  rights.   More  than  30  union  members 
were  arrested  in  July  for  essentially  peaceful  political 
activity.   After  holding  dissident  General  Francois  Bozize  in 
detention  for  2  years  without  charge  or  trial,  the  Government 
brought  him  and  four  of  his  associates — all  of  whom  were 
forcibly  repatriated  from  Benin  in  1989 — to  trial  in 
September.   The  High  Court  of  Justice  acquitted  Bozize  and  two 
others,  but  the  Ministry  of  Justice  refused  to  release  them; 
the  President  subsequently  pardoned  them  on  December  1,  along 
with  all  other  political  detainees.   The  Government's  tactics 
against  the  growing  opposition,  including  slow  progress  toward 
convening  a  national  conference,  undercut  the  progress  made  in 
political  party  formation  and  the  Government's  promise  of  free 
elections . 


Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  politically  motivated  killings,  but 
there  were  a  few  reports  of  extrajudicial  killing.   In  January 
a  government  official  announced  that  Pierre  Wanga  and  three 



others  had  been  beaten  while  in  police  custody  in  1990  and  that 
Wanga  had  died  as  a  result.   Although  the  Government  announced 
that  there  would  be  a  complete  investigation  and  that  suspects 
had  been  arrested,  there  was  no  subsequent  announcement 
concerning  judicial  action. 

In  August  government  soldiers  killed  an  unknown  number  of 
youths  under  questionable  circumstances  at  a  coffee  storage 
warehouse  outside  of  Bangui.   Officials  of  the  Central  African 
League  of  Human  Rights  claimed  the  youths  were  students 
protesting  government  policy  towards  the  opposition  on  property 
owned  by  a  presidential  ally;  the  Government  charged  that  the 
youths  were  part  of  a  bandit  gang.   During  a  demonstration  on 
May  6  in  Bangui  against  governmental  education  policy,  a 
secondary  school  student  was  fatally  injured  by  a  tear  gas 
canister  fired  by  security  forces. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  confirmed  reports  of  politically  motivated 
disappearance . 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  Penal  Code  prohibits  torture  and  defines  sanctions  for 
those  found  guilty  of  physical  abuse.   Nonetheless,  reports  of 
police  beatings  of  criminal  suspects  continue  as  in  the  case  of 
Pierre  Wanga. 

The  physical  conditions  of  Central  African  prisons  are  hard. 
One  pro-opposition  group  reported  that  some  of  its  members  were 
jailed  for  up  to  6  months  from  September  1990  to  March  1991  in 
cramped  cells  without  toilet  facilities  and  only  such  food  and 
other  necessities  as  families  could  provide. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

In  1991  the  Government  used  detention  to  suppress  political 
activity,  holding  labor  activists  and  opposition  supporters  for 
protracted  periods  on  charges  of  being  a  threat  to  state 

Persons  detained  in  nonpolitical  cases  must  be  brought  before  a 
magistrate  within  96  hours.   In  practice,  inefficient  judicial 
procedures  often  caused  this  deadline  to  be  exceeded.   Further, 
according  to  credible  reports,  three  persons  have  been  held  in 
Ngaragba  prison  without  charge  or  trial  since  March  1990, 
reportedly  because  they  failed  to  pay  a  bribe  to  a  local 
official.   No  system  of  bail  exists,  but  sometimes  persons  are 
released  on  their  own  recognizance. 

Political  detainees  may  be  held  without  charge  for  up  to  2 
months.   The  Government  consistently  ignored  this  limit  or  held 
persons  without  trial  for  long  periods  while  preparing  the 
State's  case  against  them.   The  Government  does  not  reveal  the 
number  of  political  detainees  it  holds.   The  number  of  those 
arrested  and  detained  tended  to  rise  during  strikes  and 
opposition  activities.   In  January  more  than  50  prisoners  were 
known  to  be  in  detention.   In  April  the  Government  announced 
the  release  of  48  political  prisoners,  including  Ruth  Rolland 
and  Phillipe  Bolibo,  both  incarcerated  for  political  opposition 
to  the  regime  since  1989.   Following  a  general  amnesty  on 
September  1,  the  total  number  of  detainees  dwindled  to  11.   At 



year's  end,  there  were  no  known  political  detainees  or 
prisoners  being  held. 

Other  political  dfetainees  released  during  the  year  included  21 
members  of  the  Coordinating  Committee  for  the  Convocation  of  a 
National  Conference  (CCCCN) .   They  were  released  in  March  after 
6-months '  incarceration  on  the  grounds  of  insufficient  evidence 
to  warrant  trial.   The  CCCCN  group,  which  had  called  for  a 
national  conference  independent  of  the  ruling  RDC  congress,  had 
been  arrested  in  September  and  October  1990  for  attending  an 
opposition  meeting. 

Among  those  detained  in  1991  were  Roger  Poguy  Magineaud,  a 
businessman,  detained  and  questioned  for  7  days  in  May  about 
his  alleged  political  activities.   During  the  first  week  of 
July,  at  least  25  people,  including  three  prominent  labor 
leaders,  were  arrested  during  strikes  in  Bangui  (see  Section 
6.a.).   Most  were  detained  following  confrontations  between 
police  and  workers  at  the  labor  union  headquarters  in  Bangui 
and  released  on  July  11,  but  the  three  union  leaders  were 
charged  with  inciting  violence  and  given  suspended  sentences  of 
1  to  3  years  on  July  31. 

Concerned  relatives  and  opposition  leaders  claimed  that  several 
youths  were  arrested  following  the  demonstrations  on  May  4-6 
and  flown  to  Birao  in  the  furthest  northeast  corner  of  the 
country.   Criminals  and  "undesirables"  have  been  exiled  there 
in  the  past.   The  authorities  acknowledged  that  government 
policy  directs  the  police  to  arrest  youths  not  possessing  valid 
identification  and  work  papers,  but  they  did  not  provide 
specific  information  on  this  case. 

Exile  is  not  permitted  in  law  and  is  not  practiced  by  the 
Government,  but  a  number  of  political  opponents  have  left  the 
country  to  avoid  government  sanctions.   Among  well-known 
self-exiles  are  Rodolph  Iddi-Lala,  currently  in  Togo,  and  Ange 
Patasse,  currently  in  Paris. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  judiciary  consists  of  regular  and  military  courts,  with  the 
Supreme  Court  at  the  apex.   In  common  criminal  cases,  the 
accused  have  a  right  to  legal  counsel  at  all  stages,  trials  are 
public,  and  defendants  have  a  right  to  be  present.   These 
safeguards  generally  apply  in  practice.   Insufficient 
resources,  however,  including  inadequate  training  of  officials, 
sometimes  hampers  administration  of  the  law,  and  persistent 
traditional  beliefs  regarding  witchcraft  and  sorcery  sometimes 
overcome  strict  adherence  to  formal  rules  of  evidence. 

In  political  cases,  the  Government  frequently  interferes,  and 
the  procedural  safeguards  specified  above  do  not  apply. 
Created  in  1988  to  try  "political"  prisoners,  the  High  Court  of 
Justice  heard  its  first  cases  in  September  1991,  those  of 
General  Francois  Bozize  and  four  codef endants .   Political 
prisoners  are  generally  defined  in  the  Central  African 
Constitution  as  persons  who  threaten  state  security.   In  a 
public  trial,  the  Court  unconditionally  acquitted  Bozize  and 
two  others  of  political  charges  but  remanded  the  two 
codef endants  to  criminal  court  for  further  action.   Although 
the  High  Court  of  Justice  is  constitutionally  defined  as  the 
court  of  last  appeal  for  political  cases,  the  Minister  of 
Justice  refused  to  accept  the  verdict  and  immediately 
instituted  new  legal  steps  against  Bozize  and  the  two  others. 
A  three-judge  panel  subsequently  decided  that  the  three  must 



stand  trial  again  before  the  Supreme  Court  on  charges  stenuning 
from  an  alleged  1982  coup  attempt.   On  December  1,  the 
President  pardoned  Bozize  and  his  codef endants .   Some  local 
human  rights  activists  criticized  the  State's  arbitrary 
handling  of  the  Bozize  case,  including  the  sudden  Presidential 
pardon  and  complained  about  official  media  coverage  of  the 
affair . 

The  Ministry  of  Justice  took  several  other  steps  to  check 
growing  judicial  independence,  creating  the  post  of  Inspector 
General  charged  with  oversight  of  justice,  removing  the 
President  of  the  Supreme  Court,  and  replacing  the  president  of 
a  tribunal  which  had  ruled  to  annul  a  government  decision  to 
suspend  six  union  federations. 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

The  Government  rarely  abused  legal  prohibitions  on  invasion  of 
the  home  without  a  warrant  in  civil  and  criminal  cases,  but  in 
political  and  security  cases,  police  are  legally  permitted  to 
search  private  property  without  written  authorization  and  do  so 
in  practice.   The  Government  maintains  a  close  watch  on 
citizens  who  are  suspected  of  opposing  it.   To  combat  local 
crime,  including  robbery  and  assault,  the  RDC  political  party 
created  citizens'  action  groups  called  vigilance  committees  in 
1988,  consisting  of  20  volunteers  per  neighborhood.   These 
committees  have  sometimes  intruded  on  police  responsibilities 
but  in  general  were  less  active  in  1991. 

Civil  servants  were  not  required  to  join  the  ruling  RDC,  but 
there  were  strong  social  pressures  to  join,  particularly  in  the 
case  of  those  holding  high-level  positions. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  right  of  private  citizens  to  speak  publicly  about  political 
developments  or  to  criticize  the  Government  is  circumscribed, 
although  most  people  feel  free  to  comment  privately  on 
political  affairs.   The  National  Assembly  provides  a 
constitutional  forum  for  public  discussion  of  government 
policies,  but  since  the  Assembly  is  traditionally  obedient  to 
the  executive,  few  citizens  follow  Assembly  debates  or  approach 
their  representatives  with  concerns. 

Newspapers,  radio,  and  television  are  all  government  owned  and 
controlled.   Unswerving  in  their  support  for  President  Kolingba 
and  the  RDC,  the  media  do  not  provide  objective  coverage  of 
important  national  political  developments,  including  the  Bozize 
trial  (see  Section  I.e.).   Despite  a  September  pledge,  the 
Government  did  not  give  opposition  parties  equal  access  to  the 
national  media.   Domestic  news  favored  upbeat  stories  and 
noncontroversial  events,  although  the  newspapers'  awareness 
campaign  about  the  acquired  immunodeficiency  syndrome  (AIDS) 
through  articles  and  advertisements  addressed  a  major  domestic 
health  problem.   Opposition  parties  and  groups  published  and 
distributed  manifestos,  policy  statements,  and  analyses  of 
events,  most  often  in  typewritten  and  photocopied  form. 

Reporting  on  international  news  was  selective  and  avoided 
events  that  might  have  embarrassed  friendly  foreign 
governments,  but  radio  broadcasts,  over  the  course  of  the  year. 



did  cover  reform  of  other  single-party  systems  in  Africa  and 
Eastern  Europe. 

Academic  freedom. is  limited:   striking  teachers  in  1990  and 
1991  were  important  actors  in  maintaining  pressures  for 
political  reform. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  right  of  assembly  is  constitutionally  guaranteed  but  is 
restricted  in  practice.   Several  labor  and  student 
demonstrations  were  broken  up  by  police,  and  the  Ministry  of 
the  Interior  banned  a  political  rally  in  September. 

The  Government  addressed  demands  from  a  cross-section  of 
Central  African  society  for  a  national  conference  to  discuss 
current  political  problems  and  the  future  political  structure 
of  the  C.A.R.  by  promising  in  September  to  schedule  for 
February  1992  a  "national  debate."   No  date  had  been  set  by 
year's  end.   The  RDC  declared  in  October  1990  its  intention  to 
pursue  democratization  within  a  single-party  system.   However, 
in  April  1991  President  Kolingba  suddenly  announced  to  the  RDC 
leadership  that  he  would  permit  mult ipartyism .   In  June  the 
National  Assembly  drafted  a  law  governing  the  formation, 
activities,  and  dissolution  of  political  parties,  and  on  July  4 
the  law  governing  multiparty  politics  and  setting  standards  for 
party  registration  took  effect.   This  statute  required 
submission  of  a  dossier  for  each  application  containing 
information  about  the  party  leadership;  police  records  of  the 
party  leaders;  the  statutes,  program,  and  by-laws  of  the  party; 
and  the  location  of  the  party  headquarters.   If  the  Minister  of 
Territorial  Administration  does  not  reject  the  application 
within  45  days,  the  party  automatically  becomes  a  legal 
entity.   At  the  end  of  1991,  there  were  15  registered  parties, 
including  the  RDC. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

A  variety  of  religious  communities  are  active  in  the  country, 
including  traditional  African  faiths.  Christian  denominations, 
and  Muslims.   Most  religious  organizations  and  missionary 
groups  are  free  to  proselytize  and  worship.   However,  religious 
groups  must  register  with  the  Government,  and  any  group  whose 
behavior  is  considered  political  in  nature  remains  subject  to 
sanctions . 

The  Government's  1986  ban  on  the  activities  of  the  Jehovah's 
Witnesses  community  remained  in  effect  on  the  grounds  that  this 
group's  refusal  to  serve  in  the  army  or  salute  the  flag 
constituted  defiance  of  government  authority.   The  1989  ban  on 
the  activities  of  the  Union  of  Evangelical  Pentecostal  Churches 
for  "irresponsible  conduct"  remained  in  effect  at  the  end  of 
1991  . 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

While  people  were  generally  free  to  move  within  the  country, 
police  and  other  government  officials  at  checkpoints  along 
major  roads  sometimes  harassed  travelers  unwilling  or  unable  to 
pay  bribes.   The  Government  took  steps  in  September  to  reduce 
this  practice.   The  Government  recognizes  the  right  of 
voluntary  travel  and  repatriation,  and  financial  and 
educational  constraints,  rather  than  government  controls,  act 



to  restrict  most  foreign  travel  and  emigration.   There  were  no 
known  cases  of  revocation  of  citizenship. 

By  the  end  of  1991,  more  than  10,000  Sudanese  had  fled  civil 
strife  in  Sudan  to  seek  safe  haven  in  the  remote  southeastern 
corner  of  the  C.A.R.   In  collaboration  with  U.N.  agencies  and 
private  relief  groups,  the  C.A.R.  National  Commission  for 
Refugees  is  providing  assistance  to  this  group.   The  C.A.R. 
also  continued  to  host  1,600  Chadian  refugees,  and  at  year's 
end  the  United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees  was  still 
interviewing  those  who  may  choose  to  repatriate  voluntarily. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Despite  constitutional  guarantees,  citizens  were  not  able  to 
change  their  government  by  democratic  means  in  1991,  and  until 
April  only  those  candidates  selected  by  the  ruling  RDC  were 
legally  permitted  to  contest  National  Assembly  elections,  next 
due  in  March  1992.   The  power  and  prerogatives  of  the 
President,  who  ran  uncontested  in  the  1986  presidential 
elections,  and  the  RDC  were  not  subject  to  change  from  below. 
President  Kolingba  allowed  his  Cabinet  some  latitude  in 
day-to-day  government  administration,  but  frequent  cabinet 
changes  minimized  the  effect  of  broadening  this  small  base  of 
executive  decisionmaking.   The  President  carefully  controls 
political  change,  and  it  remained  to  be  seen  at  year's  end  if 
the  advent  of  mult ipartyism  will  bring  true  democratic  reform. 

The  Constitution  grants  the  National  Assembly  the  authority  to 
debate  and  vote  on  bills  proposed  by  the  executive  and  to 
initiate  legislation  of  its  own.   Assembly  sessions  sometimes 
involved  criticism  of  the  Government,  and  Deputies,  who  have 
immunity,  did  occasionally  modify  the  language  of  proposed 
legislation.   However,  the  Assembly  rejected  no  legislation 
proposed  by  the  executive  in  1991.   Its  initial  rejection  of 
the  Government's  1991  budget  drew  stern  rebukes  from  the 
executive  branch  and  was  promptly  overturned.   It  is  rare  that 
deputies  cast  negative  votes  or  abstain. 

There  are  no  legal  impediments  to  the  participation  of  citizens 
in  the  political  process.   In  practice,  women  have  generally 
not  been  appointed  to  high  level  ministerial  positions  in  the 
Government.   Of  88  ministers  in  Kolingba  Governments  over  10 
years,  only  2  have  been  women. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

In  September  the  National  Assembly  agreed  to  the  creation  of  a 
National  Human  Rights  Commission  empowered  to  operate  under  the 
direct  authority  of  the  President.   This  appointive  Commission 
draws  members  from  a  wide  array  of  professions,  and  its  goals 
and  effectiveness  remained  unclear  at  year's  end.   In  June 
human  rights  lawyer  Nicholas  Tiangaye  also  created  the  Central 
African  Human  Rights  League  (LCDH),  a  nongovernmental 
organization  with  the  declared  goals  of  publicizing  human 
rights  violations  in  Central  Africa,  implementing  the 
international  human  rights  accords  to  which  C.A.R.  is  a  party, 
lobbying  the  Government  for  improved  human  rights  practices, 
and  pleading  individual  cases  of  human  rights  abuses  before  the 
courts.   The  LCDH  had  some  effect  in  calling  attention  to 
official  abuses  (see  Section  l.a.). 



In  the  past,  the  Government  has  permitted  representatives  of 
Amnesty  International  to  visit  Bangui  on  request,  and  the 
regional  representative  of  the  International  Committee  of  the 
Red  Cross  (ICRC)  visited  Bangui  in  July. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  Constitution  mandates  that  all  persons  are  ecjual  before  the 
law  without  regard  to  wealth,  race,  or  religion.   In  practice, 
however,  some  minorities  receive  unequal  treatment.   The 
forest-dwelling  Bayaka,  commonly  known  as  Pygmies,  are  subject 
to  discrimination  and  exploitation  which  the  Government  has 
done  little  to  correct.   Pygmies  are  often  hired  by  villagers 
to  work  for  wages  much  lower  than  those  received  by  other 
groups.   Muslims,  particularly  Mbororo  (Peuhl)  herders,  are 
sometimes  resented  by  other  Central  Africans  for  their 
affluence  and  thus  are  singled  out  for  harassment,  such  as 
police  shakedowns.   There  are  few  Muslims  in  senior  government 
posts . 

There  are  about  80  ethnic  groups  in  the  C.A.R.,  and  President 
Kolingba  has  stressed  the  desirability  of  an  ethnic  balance  in 
his  Cabinet.   In  practice,  however,  preference  for  high 
government  and  military  positions  has  been  given  to  members  of 
his  Yakoma  ethnic  group,  which  forms  less  than  5  percent  of  the 
population.   During  a  special  May  session  of  the  RDC,  the 
Government  came  under  public  criticism  for  its  ethnic 
imbalance.   President  Kolingba  responded  by  replacing  some 
Yakoma  in  his  Cabinet  but  not  really  addressing  the  imbalance. 

Although  the  Constitution  affirms  the  equality  of  all  citizens, 
women  are  not  in  fact  treated  as  equal  to  men  economically, 
socially,  or  politically.   Although  progress  has  been  made  in 
narrowing  gender  differences,  gaps  exist  not  only  between  men 
and  women,  but  between  urban  and  rural  women  as  well.   Between 
60  and  70  percent  of  urban  women  go  to  primary  school  while 
only  10  to  20  percent  of  their  rural  counterparts  do  so.   At 
the  primary  level,  females  and  males  have  ec[ual  access  to 
education,  but  a  majority  of  females  drops  out  at  ages  14  and 
15  due  to  social  pressure  to  marry  and  bear  children.   At  the 
university  oi;  Bangui,  the  sole  university  in  the  C.A.R.,  only 
20  percent  of  the  students  are  female. 

Traditional  patterns  persist  to  a  considerable  degree.   In  most 
rural  areas,  where  subsistence  farming  is  the  chief  livelihood, 
women  continue  traditional  child-raising  and  heavy  farming 
tasks  while  men  frequently  seek  paid  physical  day  labor  or 
await  hard-to-find  salaried  work.   Some  women  work  in  commerce 
as  market  vendors. 

There  is  no  precise  data  on  the  percentage  of  women  in  the  wage 
labor  force,  but  in  cities  many  educated  women  find  work 
outside  the  traditional  patterns.   Some  hold  clerical 
positions,  and  a  small  but  growing  number  are  establishing 
private  businesses  or  moving  into  the  upper  ranks  of  the 
Government.   In  1990  women  were  accepted  for  training  in  the 
gendarmerie  for  the  first  time;  the  first  of  these  graduated  in 

Polygamy  is  legal,  although  fewer  women  accept  the  practice 
than  in  the  past.   A  prospective  husband  must  indicate  at  the 
time  of  the  marriage  contract  whether  he  intends  to  take 
further  wives. 



Violence  against  women,  including  wife  beating,  occurs,  but  it 
is  difficult  to  gauge  the  extent  of  the  problem,  which  is 
seldom  officially  reported.   Some  women  believe  that  spousal 
abuse  of  women  has  diminished  from  past  levels.   The  Ministry 
of  Justice  hears  few  cases  of  spouse  abuse,  although  the  issue 
does  come  up  during  divorce  trials  or  in  civil  suits  for 
damages.   Cases  of  domestic  violence  occasionally  appear  in  the 
press.   Some  women  reportedly  tolerate  abuse  in  order  to  retain 
a  measure  of  financial  security  for  themselves  and  their 
children.   Neither  the  Government  nor  the  women's  division  of 
the  RDC  publicly  addressed  this  issue  in  1991. 

The  Penal  Code  forbids  blows  or  injuries  to  children  under  the 
age  of  15.   Current  interpretation  of  the  Code  includes 
prohibition  of  female  genital  mutilation.   Nonetheless,  the 
force  of  tradition  tolerates  this  practice  in  rural  areas  and, 
to  a  lesser  degree,  in  Bangui,  although  many  urban  dwellers 
consider  it  an  outdated  custom.   However,  it  was  praised  in  a 
press  article  on  the  national  mothers'  day  as  a  national 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

During  1991  the  Government  continued  to  harass  or  inhibit  labor 
activity  by  banning  some  organizations  and  by  arresting  labor 
leaders . 

A  1988  law,  which  entered  into  force  on  May  1,  1989,  grants  all 
workers  the  right  of  association.   Since  then  teachers,  civil 
servants,  postal  workers,  and  employees  in  the  few  large 
factories  and  businesses  in  Bangui  have  organized. 
Approximately  60  locals  exist  in  Bangui  alone.   The  Ministry  of 
the  Interior  has  also  recognized  10  sectoral  unions  in  Bangui 
and  24  provincial  unions,  all  of  which  belong  to  the  main  labor 
federation,  the  Labor  Union  of  Central  African  Workers  (USTC) . 
Recognition  requirements  are  pro  forma.   For  most  of  1991, 
there  was  only  one  main  labor  federation,  the  USTC,  plus  six 
public  sector  federations. 

The  1988  law  provides  for  the  right  to  strike  but  only  after 
rigorous  requirements  are  met,  that  is,  after  a  government 
mediator  and  an  arbitration  council  both  fail  to  achieve 
agreement  between  labor  and  management .   There  were  a  number  of 
strikes  in  1991  which  did  not  follow  these  requirements, 
including  a  general  strike  protesting  salary  arrears, 
mistreatment  of  unionists,  and  lack  of  political  reform.   The 
general  strike,  which  began  in  May,  led  to  a  July  3 
confrontation  between  strikers  and  security  forces  at  union 
headq^aarters .   The  military  occupied  the  headquarters  and 
arrested  more  than  30  unionists.   The  following  day,  security 
agents  arrested  three  union  leaders  leaving  the  July  4 
reception  at  the  U.S.  Ambassador's  residence. 

Starting  in  June,  the  Government  made  efforts  to  dissolve  the 
six  public  sector  labor  federations  for  striking  illegally  for 
political  reasons.   When  the  courts  refused  to  dissolve  the 
federations.  President  Kolingba  removed  the  magistrates 
involved.   On  July  6,  Prime  Minister  Edouard  Franck  announced 
the  suspension  of  the  six  public  sector  union  federations  until 
October  31  and  ordered  the  private  sector  to  return  to  work. 
Although  these  actions  ended  the  general  strike  and  the  public 
sector  unions  were  forced  to  hold  meetings  clandestinely,  most 
teachers  and  public  health  workers  remained  on  strike  through 



the  end  of  the  year.   The  Government  lifted  the  public  sector 
union  suspension  on  November  1. 

Most  detained  unionists  were  eventually  released,  but  several 
received  prison  terms.   USTC  Secretary  General  Theophile 
Sonny-Cole  was  sentenced  to  a  year  in  prison  without  actually 
being  arrested  or  appearing  in  court.   While  he  remained  at 
liberty  at  the  end  of  the  year,  the  Government  appeared  to 
retain  the  option  of  imposing  the  sentence  at  any  time.   The 
other  unionists  who  were  sentenced  received  either  suspended 
terms  or  were  freed  under  the  amnesty  which  President  Kolingba 
declared  on  September  1  to  mark  his  10th  year  in  power. 

Toward  the  end  of  the  year,  the  Government  announced  that  it 
supported  the  principle  of  "multiunionism"  as  a  logical 
corollary  to  multipartyism.   By  year's  end,  three  smaller 
federations  had  been  formed,  but  none  initially  demonstrated 
any  provincial  or  sectoral  union  support.   Credible  evidence 
suggested  that  one,  the  Confederation  of  Central  African  Trade 
Unions  (CSTC) ,  was  mostly  government  funded;  another,  the 
National  Confederation  of  Central  African  Workers  (CNTC)  is  the 
resurrected  version  of  a  previously  government-controlled 
federation,  headed  by  a  retired  union  rival  of  Sonny-Cole's. 

The  1988  law  allows  unions  to  affiliate  with  international 
labor  organizations.   Both  the  USTC  and  the  CNTC  maintain 
international  labor  contacts. 

In  April  1989,  the  U.S.  Government  announced  the  suspension  of 
tariff  preferences  accorded  the  C.A.R.  because  of  the 
Government's  failure  to  respect  worker  rights.   The  C.A.R. 
formally  requested  reinstatement  in  September  1989,  and  its 
request  was  granted  in  February  1991,  before  the  most  recent 
round  of  arrests  and  the  suspension  of  labor  federations. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  C.A.R.  has  little  industry  or  large-scale  agriculture.   The 
1988  union  law,  which  applies  throughout  the  country,  accords 
trade  unions  full  legal  status,  including  the  right  to  own 
property  and  to  sue  in  court.   However,  it  does  not 
specifically  state  that  trade  unions  may  engage  in  collective 
bargaining.   Mechanisms  for  collective  bargaining  contained  in 
the  1961  Labor  Code  have  in  the  past  been  used  occasionally  in 
the  private  sector  during  the  periods  in  which  union  activity 
was  not  banned.   Collective  bargaining,  though  failing  to  bring 
a  lasting  settlement,  took  place  in  1991  in  both  the  private 
and  public  sectors.   Employers  are  expressly  forbidden  from 
discriminating  against  workers  on  the  basis  of  union  membership 
or  union  activity,  and  infractions  can  result  in  the  assessment 
of  legal  damage.   Several  of  the  USTC  unions  claim,  however, 
that  the  Government  has  itself  discriminated  against  their 
members,  notably  through  the  arbitrary  reassignment  of  teachers 
and  civil  servants  to  provincial  posts.   There  are  no  export 
processing  zones  in  the  C.A.R. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor  is  specifically  prohibited  by  the  1961  Labor  Code, 
and  no  reports  were  made  of  forced  labor  in  1991. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

Employment  of  children  under  14  years  of  age  is  forbidden  by 
law,  but  this  provision  is  only  loosely  enforced  by  the 



Ministry  of  Labor  and  Civil  Service.   In  practice,  the  role  of 
children  in  the  labor  force  is  generally  limited  to  helping  the 
family  in  traditional  subsistence  farming  or  retailing. 

e.   Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimum  wages  are  established  by  the  Government,  euid  a  social 
security  system  exists  for  private  industry.   The  lowest 
minimum  wage  assures  a  family  the  basic  necessities  but  is 
barely  adequate  to  maintain  a  decent  standard  of  living.   In 
July  the  Government  announced  that  it  would  raise  the  minimvun 
monthly  industrial  wage  by  40  percent,  and  the  minimum 
agricultural  wage  by  less  than  25  percent  a  day.   These 
increases  had  not  yet  taken  effect  by  year's  end.   Much  labor 
is  performed  outside  the  wage  and  social  security  system, 
especially  by  self-employed  farmers  in  the  large  subsistence 
agricultural  sector.   The  law  sets  maximum  working  hours  for 
government  employees  and  most  people  in  the  private  sector  at 
40  hours  per  week.   Domestic  employees  may  work  up  to  55  hours 
per  week.   There  are  also  general  laws  on  health  and  safety 
standards  in  the  workplace,  but  they  are  neither  precisely 
defined  nor  actively  enforced  by  the  Ministry  of  Labor  and 
Civil  Service. 



Chad  is  a  republic  with  a  transitional  government  headed  by 
President  Idriss  Deby.   President  Deby  and  the  Patriotic 
Salvation  Movement  (MPS)  took  power  from  Hissein  Habre  on 
December  1,  1990.   He  immediately  declared  human  rights  and 
democratization  to  be  the  primary  objectives  of  the  new 
Government.   On  March  1,  the  National  Charter  was  announced, 
setting  up  a  30-month  transition  period  of  government,  with 
most  power  concentrated  in  the  hands  of  President  Deby.   The 
Charter  abolished  the  1989  constitution.   On  October  4,  the 
Government  introduced  the  Charter  on  Political  Parties.   By  the 
end  of  the  year  no  parties,  apart  from  the  MPS,  had  been 
authorized,  but  several  parties  had  formally  applied  for 
official  authorization,  and  others  were  in  the  process  of  being 

The  Deby  Government  operates  a  large  security  and  military 
apparatus  that  includes  an  army  of  about  50,000  personnel 
(Republican  Guard,  army,  gendarmerie,  and  air  force),  the 
National  Police,  and  the  Center  for  Research  and  Coordination 
of  Information  (CRCR).   The  size  of  the  security  forces  posed  a 
serious  drain  on  Chadian  resources  in  1991,  and  the  Government 
had  difficulty  in  financially  supporting  them  and  in 
maintaining  discipline.   With  French  assistance,  Chad  began  to 
reorganize,  retrain,  and  reduce  the  size  of  the  forces. 
Meanwhile,  in  1991  there  were  numerous  reports  of  human  rights 
abuses  committed  by  the  military  and  security  forces.   Credible 
reports  pointed  to  the  Military  Intelligence  Branch  (B-2)  as 
the  major  offender.   An  alleged  coup  attempt  on  October  13  led 
to  interethnic  killing,  led  by  Zaghawa  elements  of  the  Chadian 
military  loyal  to  President  Deby.   Interior  Minister  Maldoum,  a 
Hadjerai,  was  removed  from  office  for  supposed  complicity  with 
the  plot. 

Chad  is  one  of  the  poorest  countries  in  the  world,  with  an 
estimated  per  capita  income  of  $205  per  annum.   The  literacy 
rate  is  estimated  at  25  percent,  and  80  percent  of  the 
population  is  engaged  in  subsistence  agriculture,  fishing,  and 
livestock  raising.   Cotton  is  Chad's  most  important  export. 
The  Government  relies  heavily  on  external  financial  support, 
especially  from  France,  to  meet  recurring  budgetary  costs  and 
virtually  100  percent  of  government  investment.   Habre 
exacerbated  the  financial  crisis  by  fleeing  the  country  with 
much  of  its  liquid  assets.   In  1991  emergency  food  aid  was 
necessary  due  to  drought. 

In  1991,  with  strong  public  backing  from  President  Deby,  the 
human  rights  situation  in  Chad  improved  somewhat,  including  the 
right  of  workers  to  organize.   There  were  still  restrictions  on 
freedom  of  the  press  and  speech,  although  the  situation  had 
improved  over  1990.   The  Government  also  permitted  the 
establishment  of  several  organizations  devoted  solely  to  human 
rights.   However,  like  previous  governments,  the  Deby 
Government,  with  its  political  and  military  base  primarily  in  a 
regional  ethnic  grouping,  faced  serious  problems  in 
establishing  a  national  political  consensus.   It  nevertheless 
made  modest  progress  in  1991  in  identifying  the  aspirations  and 
priorities  of  the  people,  in  permitting  the  formation  of 
political  parties  late  in  the  year,  and  in  setting  a  timetable 
for  national  consultations  in  the  form  of  a  national  conference 
for  May  1992.   On  December  24,  President  Deby  issued  a  decree 
forming  an  80-person,  ethnically  and  politically  diverse, 
preparatory  commission  to  organize  the  National  Conference, 
which  would  be  sovereign.   At  the  same  time,  a  number  of 
serious  human  rights  abuses  occurred  in  1991,  notably 



extrajudicial  killings  (mainly  due  to  factions  settling  old 
scores  and  interethnic  killing  following  the  alleged  coup 
attempt  on  October  13),  the  use  of  arbitrary  arrest  and 
detention,  the  denial  of  fair  public  trials,  and  the  use  of 
force  to  prevent  assembly  and  association  of  people  outside  the 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

Credible  reports  indicated  that  the  Habre  regime  executed  more 
than  300  political  prisoners  shortly  before  it  collapsed. 
During  the  first  months  of  the  Deby  regime,  there  were  many 
credible  reports  of  further  extrajudicial  killings,  most  of 
which  involved  the  settling  of  scores  between  the  new  and  old 
factions.   Most  of  these  killings  had  ceased  by  March,  although 
reports  of  killings  continued  throughout  1991,  usually 
attributed  to  armed  bands  currently  or  formerly  associated  with 
the  Chadian  army.   Armed  groups  of  loyalists  to  former 
President  Habre  survived  by  pillaging  in  the  eastern  part  of 
the  country.   Some  members  of  the  Zaghawa,  who  accompanied  the 
Deby  forces,  turned  to  banditry  as  did  other  groups  of 
soldiers.   The  Government  condemned  these  actions  but  was  often 
several  months  behind  in  meeting  its  military  payroll,  and  its 
ability  to  control  offending  units,  particularly  in  provincial 
areas,  remained  limited.   The  Government  established 
courts-martial  in  March  to  try  military  offenders,  but  these 
met  with  limited  success.   One  early  trial  was  disrupted  by 
armed  men  who  attempted  to  rescue  the  defendants .   Subsequent 
sessions  were  heavily  guarded  by  troops  with  heavy  weapons. 
However,  these  events  had  an  intimidating  impact  on  the  conduct 
of  later  trials. 

In  the  first  days  of  the  Deby  administration,  there  were 
assassination  attempts  on  the  lives  of  several  ministers.   An 
army  officer,  Gabaroum  Demtita,  was  arrested,  and  reliable 
reports  indicate  he  was  executed  in  late  December  1990  by 
members  of  the  security  services. 

On  October  13,  government  forces  reacted  with  excessive  force 
to  suppress  an  alleged  coup  attempt  by  Minister  of  the  Interior 
Maldoum  and  Hadjerai  army  officers.   The  Government  failed  to 
control  its  troops  in  subsequent  days.   Hadjerai  military  and 
civilians  were  particularly  targeted  by  uncontrolled  Zaghawa 
armed  elements.   Reliable  reports  indicate  that  approximately 
200  persons  were  killed  in  N'Djamena  by  Zaghawa  soldiers  and 
civilians  during  the  week  of  October  13. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  known  allegations  in  1991  of  politically 
motivated  disappearances.   There  were  allegations  of  political 
prisoners  being  held  incommunicado,  though  fewer  than  under  the 
Habre  regime. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

In  1991  there  were  persistent  uncorroborated  reports  that  the 
B-2  Military  Intelligence  and  the  MPS  Security  Branch  engaged 
in  torture  which  included:   whippings,  beatings,  and  forced 



ingestion  of  water  and  then  dropping  the  detainee  to  the 
floor.   These  units  also  reportedly  denied  medical  treatment  to 
torture  victims.   The  number  of  allegations  increased  in  the 
latter  part  of  1991,  indicating  that  these  practices  were  not 
simply  a  function  of  the  chaos  of  the  first  months  of  the  Deby 
regime.   Four  men  were  publicly  executed  by  firing  squad  in 
October  after  being  convicted  under  the  special  court-martial 
authority,  one  reportedly  for  attempted  theft.   The  executions 
were  carried  out  in  a  manner  that  prolonged  the  suffering  of 
the  men.   While  the  Government  officially  condemns  the  use  of 
torture  and  the  mistreatment  of  prisoners,  it  has  not  commented 
on  these  reports  nor,  as  far  as  is  known,  conducted  any 
investigation  of  such  incidents. 

Prison  conditions  under  the  Deby  regime  continued  to  be  harsh. 
They  are  characterized  by  overcrowding,  poor  sanitation,  lack 
of  medical  facilities,  inadequate  food,  mixing  of  male  and 
female  prisoners,  and  detention  of  children.   Deaths  from 
malnutrition  in  common  cells  were  frequent,  with  the  bodies  not 
being  removed  rapidly  after  death.   Prisoners  are  dependent  on 
their  families  for  food,  medicines,  and  other  necessities. 
Nonpolitical  prisoners  are  allowed  daily  access  by  visitors. 
Some  reports  indicated  that  political  and  security  prisoners 
were  detained  incommunicado.   Military  prisoners  are  detained 
in  separate  facilities. 

d.   Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  Deby  Government  abolished  the  1989  constitution  which 
provided  for  certain  safeguards  for  the  citizen  against 
arbitrary  arrest  and  gave  detainees  specific  rights,  such  as 
the  right  to  counsel  and  to  be  presented  with  charges.   The 
Chadian  penal  code,  which  is  still  considered  in  effect, 
specifies  these  rights,  but  its  provisions,  like  those  of  the 
1989  constitution,  are  not  enforced.   In  practice,  most 
individual  military  or  security  organizations  were  able  to 
arrest  or  detain  citizens  without  legal  warrant,  without 
presenting  charges,  or  without  referring  a  detainee  to  an  early 

In  June  a  group  of  44  military  officers  and  noncommissioned 
officers  (NCO's),  all  of  southern  Chadian  origin,  were  arrested 
for  circulating  a  signed  petition  that  complained  of  unjust 
treatment.   They  were  detained  at  the  gendarmerie  and  the 
former  presidential  compound.   The  officers  were  held  for 
several  days  and  the  NCO's  for  up  to  11  days  before  being 
released  without  charge.   Other  allegations  surfaced  in  the 
press  that  military  and  civilians  were  detained  without 
charge.   In  contrast,  there  were  numerous  allegations  that 
military  and  civilians  of  the  Zaghawa  ethnic  group  who  were 
guilty  of  crimes  were  not  incarcerated  (see  Section  I.e.). 

Due  to  the  secrecy  of  the  Government,  the  number  of  political 
detainees  held  in  1991,  if  any,  was  not  known.   High-level 
Chadian  officials  contend  there  were  no  political  detainees  or 
prisoners  held  in  1991. 

The  Deby  Government  actively  engaged  in  a  program  for  the 
return  of  Chadian  exiles.   There  were  no  reports  of  returning 
exiles  being  detained  or  mistreated.    The  Government  had  some 
difficulty  absorbing  several  thousand  Chadian  citizens  who  were 
involuntarily  returned  from  Libya  with  little  or  no  preparation 
or  notice  during  the  year.   Significant  numbers  of  Chadians 
have  chosen  not  to  return  to  Chad  and  remain  in  Europe,  Niger, 
Libya,  and  other  African  countries. 



e.  Denial  of  Fair  Trial 

Chad's  judicial  system  is  at  best  rudimentary,  in  part  due  to 
decades  of  civil  war  creating  serious  staffing  and  training 
deficiencies.   Three  forms  of  courts  existed  in  Chad  in  1991: 
the  regular  judiciary,  a  traditional  system  presided  over  by 
village  chiefs  and  sheiks,  and  the  newly  established  special 
military  court  to  try  soldiers  and  civilians  accused  of 
criminal  activity  (see  Section  l.a.).   There  are  legal 
safeguards  built  into  the  court-martial  system,  including  the 
right  to  be  represented  by  an  attorney  and  the  right  of  appeal 
to  a  higher  tribunal  within  the  same  system.   In  September  a 
seven-person  Special  Court  of  Justice  was  established  to  look 
into  the  issue  of  funds  which  disappeared  at  the  time  of 
Habre's  fall. 

The  highest  court  in  Chad  is  the  Appellate  Court  in  N'Djamena. 
It  reviews  the  decisions  of  lower  courts  and  judges  all  cases 
calling  for  more  than  a  2-year  penalty.   Due  to  the  shortage  of 
judges  in  the  provinces,  legal  matters  were  often  presided  over 
by  either  traditional  or  other  governinent  authorities, 
frequently  military  commanders.   The  traditional  or  customary 
system  of  justice,  common  in  the  rural  areas  and  used  for  civil 
matters,  is  not  codified,  but  its  judgments  are  generally 
respected  by  the  population.   Decisions  rendered  by  a 
traditional  court  may  be  appealed  to  the  regular  civilian 
courts . 

There  were  no  efforts  at  systemic  overhaul  of  the  judiciary  in 
1991,  although  the  MPS  Conference  in  March  cited  judicial 
reform  as  a  national  goal,  and  President  Deby  indicated  that 
judicial  reform  would  be  addressed  in  the  national  conference 
in  1992.   Meanwhile,  the  judiciary  remained  subordinate  to 
executive  authority.   The  Government  did  make  an  effort  to 
staff  rural  courts  which  had  not  functioned  under  the  previous 
government . 

In  1991  there  were  credible  reports  that  the  civilian  court 
system  and  the  new  court-martial  system  were  unable  to  bring 
members  of  the  Zaghawa  ethnic  group  to  trial.   In  August 
Zaghawa  soldiers  attacked  the  first  court-martial  session  in  an 
attempt  to  free  Zaghawa  prisoners.   On  October  13,  Zaghawa 
soldiers  attacked  the  prison  in  order  to  free  Zaghawa 
prisoners.   There  are  reports  that  citizens  preferring  charges 
against  Zaghawa  were  threatened  by  other  Zaghawa  in  the 
military.   Government  actions  to  prevent  these  abuses  have  not 
been  fully  effective. 

f.  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

Under  the  penal  code,  homes  may  be  searched  only  during 
daylight  hours  and  only  under  the  authority  of  a  warrant.   In 
practice,  security  personnel  of  various  agencies  searched  homes 
and  arrested  occupants  without  a  warrant  from  judicial 
authorities.   In  early  1991,  several  deaths  occurred  as  a 
result  of  searches  of  homes  by  the  army.   There  were  numerous 
reports  that  thievery  by  soldiers  occurred  frequently  during 
house  and  street  searches. 

Membership  in  the  Patriotic  Salvation  Movement  (MPS)  is  not 
required  for  employment  or  appointment  to  high  position. 
However,  MPS  membership  reportedly  has  been  solicited  through 
coercive  means  in  the  rural  areas. 



It  was  widely  assumed  that  surveillance  of  persons,  monitoring 
of  telephones,  and  checking  of  domestic  and  international 
correspondence  occurred  in  1991. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

President  Deby  lifted  many  restrictions  on  freedom  of  speech 
and  press.   Individual  views  were  expressed  openly,  and  there 
was  no  evidence  of  government  interference  with  or  restriction 
on  small  private  meetings  (see  Section  2.b.).   The  private 
press  developed  rapidly  after  the  change  in  government .   Five 
private  newspapers  were  published  in  1991,  sold  openly,  and 
often  carried  stories  highly  critical  of  the  Government. 

Chadian  television,  radio,  and  the  Chadian  Press  Agency 
continued  to  be  government  controlled  in  1991.   In  state-owned 
media  journalists  were  allowed  greater  latitude  in  publishing 
and  broadcasting  than  during  the  Habre  regime.   However,  as  the 
year  progressed,  the  official  media  became  increasingly 
restrained  in  the  choice  of  topics  and  quoted  sources, 
apparently  under  government  pressure,  and  considerably  less 
outspoken  than  the  private  press. 

Low-ranking  soldiers  attacked  journalists  on  several  occasions, 
and  MPS  officials  intimidated  newspaper  staff.   Additionally, 
there  were  disturbing  incidents  aimed  at  intimidating  the 
press.   In  mid-March  soldiers  burst  into  Radio  Chad  studios  and 
roughed  up  journalists.   Reporters  went  on  strike  until  the 
Government  promised  such  incidents  would  not  happen  again.   On 
July  7,  the  Government  warned  the  press  about  unspecified 
"excesses".   Soldiers  beat  three  Tele-Chad  journalists  on  July 
28.   In  early  November,  offices  of  the  independent  weekly 
Contact  were  vandalized  and  the  texts  of  articles  were  stolen. 
In  late  December,  the  publisher  of  N'Djamena  Hebdo  was  detained 
briefly  by  armed  men  and  the  newspaper  offices  were  searched. 
Members  of  the  private  press  have  expressed  the  view  that  they 
are  under  frequent  personal  or  electronic  surveillance. 

Foreign  publications  were  available  in  Chad,  and  there  were  no 
reports  that  foreign  publications  were  censored  or  withdrawn 
from  circulation  during  1991. 

The  academic  system  is  state  supported  but  was  free  of 
government  control  of  curriculum  or  course  content.   Class 
discussions  of  academic  topics  were  unrestricted  and 
uninhibited,  but  political  commentary  in  and  out  of  class 
tended  to  be  restrained,  unless  discussions  took  place  among 
close,  trusted  friends.   Fear  of  government  informants  is 
pervasive  at  institutes  of  higher  education. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

These  freedoms  were  tightly  circumscribed  in  1991.   The 
Government  prohibited  assemblies  or  meetings  with  political 
objectives  and,  until  October,  declared  any  political  activity 
and  political  party  organizations  outside  the  MPS  illegal.   A 
planned  antigovernment  demonstration  on  March  26  failed  to 
materialize  after  the  Government  declared  it  illegal.   The 
Government  used  force  to  disperse  striking  students  at  the 
University  of  Chad  in  February,  resulting  in  the  death  of  at 
least  one  person  and  several  wounded.   The  students  were 
calling  for  the  removal  of  two  administrators,  reinstatement  of 
suspended  students,  payment  of  stipends,  and  better  conditions. 



In  1991  the  Government  required  organizations  to  have  official 
authorization  to  function  prior  to  beginning  operations.   While 
it  authorized  three  private  human  rights  organizations  and  two 
union  federations  to  organize,  it  had  not  given  permission  by 
year's  end  to  many  cultural  and  social  organizations  with  no 
stated  political  objective. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Chad  is  officially  and  in  practice  a  secular  state  in  which 
Islam,  Christianity,  and  other  religions  are  practiced  without 
official  constraint.   Both  Islamic  and  Christian  holidays  are 
given  official  status.   More  than  50  percent  of  Chad's 
population  is  Muslim,  and  Chad  is  a  member  of  the  Islamic 
Conference.   Christian  and  other  missionaries  may  enter  the 
country  to  proselytize  and  perform  public  assistance  work. 

Christian  missionaries  are  most  active  in  the  south.   In  1991 
there  were  no  reports  of  harassment  for  religious  views,  and 
religious  publications  are  disseminated  without  government 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Chadians  enjoy  freedom  to  move  around  the  country,  except 
within  military  zones.   Clearance  by  internal  security  services 
is  required  for  international  travel,  but  this  requirement  did 
not  appear  to  impede  movement.   Chadians  are  free  to  emigrate 
and  have  the  right  to  return. 

From  1979  to  1982,  as  many  as  185,000  Chadians  fled  drought  and 
civil  war  to  seek  refuge  in  neighboring  countries.   Most  of 
those  who  left  during  this  time  have  since  returned  to  Chad  and 
have  been  resettled  with  the  help  of  government  organizations. 
Several  thousand  returned  in  1991.   About  24,000  still  remain 
outside  Chad,  mainly  in  Sudan. 

In  addition  to  this  older  population  of  refugees,  Chad 
experienced  a  new  outflow  of  about  10,000  persons  following  the 
December  1990  overthrow  of  the  Habre  government  by  Idriss 
Deby.   Most  of  these  recent  refugees  returned  to  Chad  in  early 
1991.   About  3,000  remain  in  Niger,  Nigeria,  and  Cameroon. 
There  were  no  reports  in  1991  of  mistreatment  of  returnees. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

In  1991  Chadians  lacked  the  right  to  change  their  government  by 
democratic  means.   President  Deby  governs  through  a  Council  of 
Ministers  and  the  Prime  Minister.   The  Provisional  Council  of 
the  Republic,  a  consultative  body  comprised  of  regional 
representatives  and  political  notables  appointed  by  the 
President,  serves  some  of  the  functions  of  a  legislature  but 
without  authority  to  initiate  or  approve  laws. 

Upon  coming  to  power,  Deby's  provisional  Government,  through 
the  National  Charter,  abolished  the  1989  constitution  and  the 
national  assembly  but  promised  to  install  a  multiparty  system. 
A  Charter  of  Political  Parties  was  adopted  on  October  4,  and  a 
national  conference  is  scheduled  for  May  1992,  one  of  its 
objectives  being  to  draft  a  new  constitution.    Municipal, 
legislative,  and  presidential  elections  were  promised  for  1993. 



Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

In  a  marked  departure  from  Habre's  regime,  the  Deby  Government 
allowed  investigation  into  human  rights  abuses,  particularly 
those  committed  by  Habre.   In  the  first  months  of  1991 
prominent  press  coverage,  both  foreign  and  domestic, 
documented  abuses.   Three  Chadian  human  rights  organizations 
were  founded  and  authorized  to  operate  in  1991.   The  Chadian 
League  of  Human  Rights  (LTDH)  was  established  first,  and  it 
actively  promoted  human  rights  issues.   The  Convention  for  the 
Defense  of  Human  and  Citizens  Rights  (CODHOC)  and  the  Chadian 
Association  for  the  Promotion  and  Defense  of  Human  Rights 
(ATCPH)  were  founded  toward  the  end  of  the  year  to  promote 
human  rights.   All  three  operated  without  government 

The  Government  permitted  Amnesty  International  and  a  French 
judge  to  conduct  investigations  in  1991. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

There  are  approximately  200  ethnic  groups  in  Chad.   They  are 
roughly  divided  among  Saharan  and  Arab  Muslims  in  the  northern, 
central,  and  eastern  regions,  and  Bantu  people,  who  practice 
Christianity  or  animist  religions,  in  the  south.   Sustained 
civil  war  since  1965,  revolving  around  ethnic  disputes,  has 
badly  fractured  any  sense  of  national  identity.   Ethnic 
divisions  continued  to  be  a  major  problem  in  Chad  despite 
Deby's  efforts  to  forge  national  reconciliation  and  unity. 
While  regional  and  ethnic  representation  in  government  was 
diverse,  real  power  remained  in  the  hands  of  a  few  minority 
ethnic  groups  from  northern  and  eastern  Chad,  principally  the 
Zaghawa,  Bideyat,  and  Gorane. 

Officially  the  Deby  Government  opposes  discrimination,  and 
Chadian  women  have  full  political  eq\iality  and  protection  under 
the  law.   However,  culture  and  tradition  among  many  of  Chad's 
various  ethnic  groups  perpetuate  the  de  facto  subordinate 
status  of  women.   Much  of  the  agricultural  work  on  subsistence 
farms  is  done  by  women.   Neither  traditional  law  nor  the  penal 
code  specifically  protects  women's  rights.   The  literacy  rate 
for  women  is  significantly  lower  than  for  men,  and  a  1991 
United  Nations  Development  Program  study  stated  that  on  average 
females  receive  one-third  of  the  education  of  males.   A  few 
women  are  found  in  higher  positions  in  the  Government  as  well 
as  in  commerce,  the  professions,  and  the  military.   The 
Ministry  of  Public  Health  and  Social  Affairs  actively  promoted 
women's  rights,  sponsoring  a  national  women's  week  and  seminars 
on  women's  issues.   A  private  women's  advocacy  group  was 
authorized  and  was  active  in  promoting  women's  rights. 

Household  violence  directed  against  women,  including  wife 
beating,  is  believed  to  be  common,  and  women  have  only  limited 
legal  recourse  against  abusive  spouses.   Female  genital 
mutilation  (circumcision)  is  widespread  in  Chad.   This  practice 
is  deeply  rooted  in  tradition,  both  in  the  north  and  the  south, 
and  strongly  advocated  by  many  Chadians,  including  women, 
despite  its  severe  consequences  for  women's  physical  and  mental 
health.   The  Deby  Government  took  no  action  to  prohibit  the 


Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Given  the  level  of  economic  development,  Chad's  labor  movement 
is  still  in  its  infancy.   Over  80  percent  of  all  Chadian 
workers  are  involved  in  subsistence  agriculture,  animal 
husbandry,  or  fishing.   Involvement  in  labor  organizations 
centers  mostly  on  the  public  sector  and  the  small,  private 
commercial  sector. 

The  National  Charter  of  March  1991  specifically  recognized  the 
right  of  labor  to  organize,  and  workers  are  free  to  join  or 
form  unions  of  their  own  choosing.   However,  government 
authorization  is  required  before  unions  can  commence 
operations.   There  was  no  indication  in  1991  that  the 
Governinent  interfered  wih  the  right  of  workers  to  organize, 
although  it  refused  authorization  to  the  National  Federation  of 
Chadian  Trade  Unions  (UNST)  to  function  under  the  name  of  UNST 
because  of  its  association  with  the  Habre  regime.   It  granted 
approval  once  the  name  was  altered  to  the  Federation  of  Chadian 
Unions  (UST) .   A  second  federation  of  unions,  the  Federation  of 
Chadian  Workers  (CLTT),  was  formed  in  1991.   Both  new 
federations  are  independent  of  the  Government.   Both 
federations  held  congresses  in  1991  and  freely  affiliate  with 
international  and  regional  labor  organizations. 

The  Deby  Government  considers  the  current  Labor  Code  still  in 
effect.   It  permits  the  right  to  strike  but  mandates  that 
certain  steps  are  to  be  taken  to  resolve  disagreements  prior  to 
striking.   The  1989  constitution  implicitly  repealed  the  1975 
ordinance  which  suspended  the  right  to  strike.   However, 
strikes  did  not  take  place  under  the  Habre  government.   A  new 
labor  code  is  nearing  completion,  according  to  government  and 
union  officials. 

In  1991  five  strikes  were  staged  without  evidence  of  government 
interference  or  restrictions.   Hospital  workers,  airport 
employees,  government-employed  journalists,  and  textile  workers 
in  southern  Chad  went  on  strike  during  the  year  over  wage  and 
benefit  issues  and  for  improved  working  conditions.   In 
December  primary  and  secondary  teachers,  with  sympathy  support 
from  higher  education  institutions,  led  a  strike  for  better  pay 
and  benefits.   In  each  of  these  instances,  the  Government 
negotiated  mutually  satisfactory  resolutions  to  the  strikes. 
In  April,  however,  when  the  former  UNST  called  for  a  general 
strike  to  protest  the  Government's  refusal  to  allow  it  to 
function  under  the  name  UNST,  the  Government  deemed  the  strike 
illegal  because  it  was  called  by  an  unauthorized  organization, 
and  the  strike  failed  to  take  place. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  National  Charter  specifically  recognizes  the  right  of  trade 
unions  to  organize  and  bargain  collectively,  and  in  1991  there 
was  no  abridgement  of  this  right  as  there  had  been  under  the 
previous  government.   However,  the  International  Labor 
Organization's  (ILO)  Committee  of  Experts  in  1991  again  asked 
the  Government  to  amend  a  section  of  the  Labor  Code  which 
empowers  the  State  to  intervene  in  the  collective  bargaining 
process.   In  practice,  few  collective  agreements  exist  given 
the  small  size  of  the  private  sector.   Chadian  law  does  not 
specifically  prohibit  antiunion  discrimination,  but  this  was 
not  an  issue  in  1991.   There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in 



c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

While  there  is  no  specific  prohibition  on  forced  or  compulsory 
labor  in  Chadian  law,  such  labor  did  not  occur  in  1991. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  age  for  employment  of  children  is  14  in  the  wage 
sector,  but  there  is  only  limited  enforcement  of  this  law  by 
the  Ministry  of  Civil  Service  and  Labor.   In  practice, 
employment  of  children  was  almost  nonexistent,  except  on  family 
farms . 

Approximately  600  minors,  between  the  ages  of  12  and  17,  were 
reported  to  be  in  the  army.  One  objective  of  the  Deby 
Government  was  to  reorganize  the  army  and  release  minors  from 
the  ranks.  This  process  was  under  way  at  year's  end  with  the 
Government  coordinating  closely  with  the  United  Nations 
International  Children's  Fund  to  provide  reintegration  of  the 
children  into  civilian  society. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

A  minimum  wage  scale  established  in  1978  remained  valid  under 
the  Deby  Government.   This  nationwide  minimum  wage  scale 
applied  to  all  categories  of  work,  but  higher  grade  levels 
existed  for  specialized  functions.   Minimum  wages  were 
insufficient  to  support  subsistence,  much  less  an  acceptable 
standard  of  living.   Most  workers  relied  on  second  jobs, 
subsistence  agriculture,  or  assistance  from  the  extended  family. 

Most  nonagricultural  work  is  limited  by  law  to  48  hours  per 
week  with  overtime  paid  for  supplementary  hours.   Agricultural 
workers  were  statutorily  limited  to  2,400  work  hours  per  year. 
All  workers  are  entitled  to  24  consecutive  hours  of  rest  per 
week.   In  practice,  issues  involving  working  conditions  were 
still  in  their  infancy.   Some  occupational  health  and  safety 
standards  exist  for  the  work  environment,  but  enforcement  by 
the  Ministry  of  Civil  Service  and  Labor  is  rare. 



Located  in  the  Mozambique  Channel  between  East  Africa  and 
Madagascar,  the  Federal  and  Islamic  Republic  of  the  Comoros 
comprises  three  islands  and  claims  a  fourth,  Mayotte,  which  is 
governed  by  France.   Until  his  assassination  in  November  1989, 
President  Abdallah,  backed  by  the  presidential  guard,  presided 
over  a  de  facto  one-party  state.   Following  his  assassination, 
some  25  European  mercenaries  who  had  served  as  officers  in  the 
presidential  guard  briefly  became  the  ruling  authority  until 
French  troops  arrived  to  stabilize  the  situation. 

Early  in  1990,  opposition  politicians  returned  from  exile,  and  a 
wide  spectrum  of  political  leaders  and  eight  political  parties 
contested  presidential  elections  in  two  stages.   The  acting 
President,  Said  Mohamed  Djohar,  emerged  the  winner  in  the  second 
round.   His  defeated  opponent,  Mohamed  Taki,  refused  to  accept 
the  results  and  departed  the  country  for  several  months.   Though 
allegations  of  fraud  and  tampering  with  ballot  boxes  were  made 
by  opposing  political  parties,  most  outside  observers,  including 
representatives  from  the  Organization  of  African  Unity, 
concluded  that  these  instances  did  not  decisively  alter  the 
results.   Following  his  inauguration  on  March  20,  1991,  the  new 
President  vowed  to  promote  full  democracy  and  became  leader  of  a 
coalition  of  five  parties,  naming  some  former  opposition  figures 
to  ministerial  positions. 

French  military  advisors  assisted  the  new  Government  in 
restructuring  and  reducing  the  regular  military  and  police 
forces.   In  1991  the  security  forces  came  under  effective 
civilian  control. 

Agriculture  dominates  the  economy,  but  the  Comoros  is  running 
out  of  arable  land,  and  soil  erosion  on  the  steep  volcanic 
slopes  is  exacerbating  the  problem.   Revenues  from  the  main 
crops — vanilla,  essence  of  ylang-ylang,  and  cloves — continued  to 
fall.   Comoros  is  part  of  the  French  Franc  Monetary  Zone  and 
depends  heavily  on  France  for  budgetary  support  and  technical 
and  security  assistance. 

The  human  rights  situation  has  improved  significantly  since 
1989,  but  progress  slowed  in  1991  with  the  postponement  of  both 
legislative  elections  and  revision  of  the  Constitution  to 
establish  firmly  a  multiparty  system.   This  slower  pace  of 
change  was  due  in  part  to  cabinet  changes,  the  distraction  of 
natural  disasters  (volcanic  activity),  and  an  attempted  coup 
d'etat  in  August  involving  Supreme  Court  figures.   Efforts  to 
institutionalize  democratic  practices  and  the  protection  of 
human  rights  continue  to  be  hampered  by  the  lack  of  internal 
security  arrangements  and  poor  economic  conditions. 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  confirmed  reports  of  such  killing  in  1991. 
However,  the  case  of  Said  Mlindre,  a  member  of  presidential 
candidate  Taki's  political  party  who  died  in  1990  while  in 
government  custody,  continued  to  be  raised  by  the  political 
opposition.   The  Government  maintains  he  died  of  natural  causes, 
while  his  family  alleges  torture  and  poisoning.   A  doctor  who 
attended  Mlindre  on  the  night  of  his  death  testified  he  was 
unable  to  determine  whether  the  death  was  natural  or  inflicted. 



He  said  he  lacked  the  means  to  perform  an  autopsy,  and  the 
feunily  insisted  on  immediate  burial.  No  new  information  was 
developed  in  1991. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  disappearance. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

There  were  no  substantiated  reports  of  torture  or  other  cruel, 
inhuman,  or  degrading  treatment  or  punishment  in  1991.   However, 
various  opposition  newspapers  and  human  rights  groups  maintained 
that  Said  Mlindre  and  others  detained  in  August  1990,  including 
a  journalist,  had  been  tortured. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

In  1991  there  were  no  known  cases  of  arbitrary  arrest  or 
detention,  although  the  circumstances  surrounding  the  detention 
of  Said  Mlindre  and  other  Taki  supporters  had  not  been  fully 
clarified.  After  Djohar's  election  in  March  1990,  there  were 
clashes  in  early  April  between  security  forces  and  opposition 
supporters .  Eighteen  of  those  involved  were  arrested  and  held 
without  charge.   Fourteen  were  released  in  September  and  the 
remaining  four  in  October  without  coming  to  trial.   The  law 
provides  for  a  detained  person  to  be  charged  within  48  hours, 
but  this  procedure  was  not  followed  in  the  case  of  Mlindre  and 
the  others  arrested  in  1990. 

Nximerous  opposition  political  figures,  who  had  been  abroad  in 
exile  during  the  Abdallah  period,  returned  to  the  Comoros  in 
early  1990  to  participate  in  the  presidential  elections. 
Mohammed  Taki,  who  remained  in  self-imposed  exile  for  most  of 
1991,  returned  to  the  Comoros  at  the  end  of  the  year. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  1978  Constitution  provides  for  the  equality  of  all  citizens 
before  the  law  and  the  right  of  all  accused  to  defense  counsel. 
The  Comorian  legal  system  applies  Islamic  law  and  an  inherited 
French  legal  code.  Most  disputes  are  settled  by  village  elders 
or  by  a  civilian  court  of  first  instance.   In  regular  civil  and 
criminal  cases,  the  judiciary  is  largely  independent,  and  trials 
are  public.   However,  in  national  security  cases  observed  since 
1990,  suspects  were  never  brought  to  trial.   Most  were 
subsequently  freed,  but  only  after  a  period  of  detention  of  up 
to  1  year .   The  Supreme  Court  has  the  power  to  review  the 
decisions  of  lower  courts,  including  the  Court  of  Appeals. 
National  security  cases  — involving  attempts  to  destabilize  the 
country  or  overthrow  the  Government  by  violent  means — are 
handled  in  the  regular  court  system. 

In  1991  the  only  important  national  security  case  involved 
members  and  supporters  of  the  Supreme  Court  who  attempted  a 
"legal  coup  d'etat"  by  declaring  the  President  unfit  for 
office.  They  invoked  articles  of  the  Constitution  which  would 
install  the  President  of  the  Supreme  Court  as  head  of  state. 
The  attempt  failed,  and  six  persons,  including  Supreme  Court 
President  Ahmed  Talidi,  were  placed  under  house  arrest  and 
awaited  trial  at  year's  end.  The  President  has  stated  that  he 
is  willing  to  drop  their  case;  however,  the  former  head  of  the 
Supreme  Court  still  insists  he  should  be  head  of  state. 



f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

The  Constitution  provides  for  the  inviolability  of  home  and 
property.   There  were  no  known  cases  of  arbitrary  interference 
with  privacy  or  correspondence  in  1991. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedoms  of  expression,  thought, 
and  conscience.   In  contrast  to  the  experience  under  the 
Abdallah  regime,  these  freedoms  were  generally  respected  during 
1991.   Comorians  discussd  and  criticized  the  Government  and  its 
leading  personalities  openly.  A  wide  spectrum  of  political 
views  were  aired  in  roundtable  discussions  leading  up  to  the 
1992  presidential  elections.   Radio  broadcasts  from  Mayotte  and 
two  French  television  stations  are  received  on  parts  of  the 
islands  without  interference.   Satellite  antennas  are  popular, 
and  amateur  radio  licenses  are  easily  obtained. 

The  print  media  continue  to  enjoy  a  significant  degree  of 
openness,  and  several  small  independent  newspapers  are  now 
published.   The  semiofficial  newspaper,  which  became  a  weekly, 
publishes  articles  critical  of  some  government  policies.   Lack 
of  funds  and  illiteracy  are  the  biggest  obstacles  to  wider 
publication  and  distribution  of  the  newspapers.   Foreign 
journals  and  newspapers  are  available,  as  are  books  from 
abroad.   The  Paris-based  Indian  Ocean  Newsletter  and  Lettre  de 
Comores,  which  are  often  highly  critical  of  the  Government, 
arrive  through  the  international  mail  without  interference. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  assembly  and 
association.   Under  the  late  president  Abdallah,  Comorians  were 
circumspect  about  organizing  public  political  gatherings,  and 
political  groupings  kept  a  fairly  low  profile.   All  of  this 
changed  in  1990  and  1991  as  new  political  parties  were  formed, 
old  ones  were  resurrected,  and  numerous  rallies  and  assemblies 
took  place  with  a  minimum  of  governmental  interference.   No 
political  parties  have  been  banned.   At  the  end  of  the  year, 
there  were  approximately  18  political  parties. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

An  overwhelming  majority  of  the  population  is  Sunni  Muslim.   The 
Constitution  holds  Islam  to  be  the  "wellspring  of  the  principles 
and  rules  which  guide  the  State  and  its  institutions."   The 
State  upholds  the  right  of  non-Muslims  to  practice  their  faith, 
and  there  are  churches  for  the  small  Catholic  and  Protestant 
populations.   Christian  missions  work  in  local  hospitals  and 
schools,  but  by  local  custom  they  are  not  allowed  to  proselytize. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

There  are  no  restrictions  on  travel  within  the  country  or 
abroad,  and  exit  visas  are  freely  granted. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  now  have  the  right  to  change  their  government  through 
peaceful  means.   No  less  than  14  political  groups  were 



represented  in  the  roundtable  discussions  held  prior  to  the  1990 
elections;  8  of  these  fielded  candidates  for  the  elections.   The 
candidates  issued  platforms  of  varying  ideological  positions, 
which  were  published  in  the  semiofficial  newspaper.   In  the 
second  round  runoff.  Said  Mohamed  Djohar  defeated  Mohamed  Taki 
by  gaining  55  perc-ent  of  the  votes. 

At  the  end  of  1991,  the  Government  consisted  of  a  coalition  of 
five  parties.   The  1978  Constitution  was  being  rewritten  to  give 
legal  status  to  a  multiparty  system  and  to  provide  for  other 
fundamental  rights.   After  the  presidential  election  in  early 
1990,  it  was  envisioned  that  a  new  constitution  could  be  quickly 
written  and  ratified  and  that  legislative  elections  could  take 
place  in  the  fall  of  that  year.  However,  the  dates  were 
constantly  postponed  because  of  political,  procedural,  and 
economic  problems.   Some  parties  insisted  that  the  elections 
should  take  place  before  the  referendum  on  the  constitution. 
Further,  the  August  1991  coup  attempt  set  back  the  political 
reform  timetable  because  of  the  prominence  of  the  people  and  the 
institution  involved  and  the  lack  of  established  procedures  to 
guide  the  process  (see  Section  i.e.).   Legislative  elections 
must  take  place  before  March  of  1992  as  the  legislators'  terms 
expire  in  that  month. 

Traditional  social,  religious,  and  economic  institutions  also 
importantly  influence  the  country's  political  life.   Interisland 
rivalries  have  been  a  persistent  and  growing  factor.   Village 
notables  and  Muslim  religious  leaders  tend  to  dominate  local 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

An  organization  called  the  Comorian  Association  for  the  Rights 
of  Man  was  established  in  May  1990.   It  has  been  active  in 
pursuing  human  rights  causes,  including  the  Said  Mlindre  case, 
with  no  interference  from  the  Government.   This  Association  has 
exerted  pressure  on  the  Government  to  free  those  prisoners 
detained  for  probable  political  reasons  but  who  have  not  been 
charged  with  national  security  violations — with  the  exception  of 
those  Supreme  Court  members  currently  under  house  arrest.   The 
Association  tends  to  focus  publicly  on  women's  rights  and  on 
raising  the  minimum  wage. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  Constitution  formally  provides  for  the  equality  of  citizens 
regardless  of  race,  sex,  or  religion.   Nevertheless,  within 
Comorian  society,  men  have  the  dominant  role.   In  theory,  women 
have  the  right  to  vote  and  participate  in  the  political  process 
as  candidates,  but  tradition  has  been  a  powerful  force  in 
discouraging  women  from  direct  participation  in  politics. 
Change  in  the  status  of  women  is  most  evident  in  the  major 
towns,  where  women  are  finding  increasing  employment 
opportunities  in  the  small  paid  labor  force  and  generally 
receiving  wages  comparable  to  those  of  men  in  similar  work, 
However,  school  enrollments  for  females  are  well  below  those  for 
males.   In  August  the  first  Comorian  woman  was  appointed  to  a 
high  government  position:  Sittou  Raghadat  Mohamed  was  named 
Secretary  of  State  for  Population  and  the  Condition  of  Women.   A 
Comorian  Women's  Federation,  formed  in  late  1989,  aims  to 
assemble  and  propose  a  family  bill  of  rights.   Women  are  not 
required  to  wear  a  veil.   Property  rights  do  not  disfavor  women; 
for  example,  the  house  the  father  of  the  bride  traditionally 

50-726  -  92  -  4 



provided  to  the  couple  at  the  time  of  their  marriage  remains  her 
property,  even  in  the  case  of  divorce. 

Violence  against  women,  including  wife  beating,  occurs. 
However,  medical  authorities,  the  Women's  Federation,  and  the 
police  believe  that  violence  against  women  is  rare,  partly 
because  of  the  nonviolent  nature  of  Comorian  society.   The 
Government  has  not  addressed  this  issue  specifically,  and  there 
are  no  studies  or  statistics  available  to  help  determine  the 
extent  of  the  problem.   In  principle,  a  woman  can  seek 
protection  through  the  courts  in  the  case  of  violence,  but  in 
reality  the  issue  would  most  likely  be  addressed  within  the 
extended  family  or  at  the  village  level.  Female  circumcision  is 
not  known  to  be  practiced  in  the  Comoros. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

The  Constitution  allows  workers  to  form  unions  and  to  strike, 
but  these  rights  only  became  a  reality  in  1990  and  1991  with  the 
association  of  some  workers  into  unions.  Farming  on  small  land 
holdings,  subsistence  fishing,  and  petty  commerce  make  up  the 
daily  activity  of  most  of  the  population.  Hence,  the  wage  labor 
force  is  small  (less  than  2,000  excluding  government 
employees).  For  the  first  time  in  1990,  however,  groups  of 
teachers,  civil  servants,  and  dock  workers — which  in  previous 
years  formed  temporary  associations  to  press  their 
demands — formed  into  unions  for  purposes  of  collective  action. 

In  1991  there  were  work  stoppages  and  slowdowns  by  all  three 
groups.   The  Government  did  not  interfere  with  these  actions, 

but  the  basic  issues  of  low  or  late  wages  remained  unsolved 

because  of  the  country's  financial  and  economic  problems. 

Unions  are  free  to  join  in  confederations  and  to  associate  with 
international  bodies,  although  given  the  nascent  state  of  union 
development  these  rights  have  not  yet  been  exercised. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Laws  do  not  prohibit  antiunion  discrimination  or  protect 
collective  bargaining,  which  is  still  in  its  infancy  in  the 
Comoros.   Labor  legislation,  to  the  extent  that  it  exists,  is 
found  mainly  in  the  Labor  Code,  which  is  not  rigidly  enforced. 
The  Labor  Code  does  not  address  collective  bargaining.   The 
private  sector  sets  wages  by  informal  employee/employer 
negotiations.   Public  workers'  wages  are  set  by  government 
policy  through  the  Ministries  of  Finance  and  Labor.   Economic 
rather  than  political  impediments  stand  in  the  way  of  a  more 
active  role  by  labor  organizations.   Unofficial  unemployment 
figures  exceed  70  percent.  There  are  no  export  processing  zones. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  forbidden  by  the  Constitution  and 
not  practiced. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  Labor  Code  defines  15  years  as  the  minimum  age  for  the 
employment  of  children.   The  Ministry  of  Labor  is  lax  about 
enforcing  this  provision.   Child  labor  is  not  an  issue  due  to 
the  lack  of  employment  opportunities  for  adolescents  and  young 
adults.   Children  generally  help  with  the  work  of  their  families 
in  the  large  subsistence  farming  and  fishing  sector. 



e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

There  is  a  legislated  minimum  wage,  but  it  is  barely  adequate  to 
cover  basic  human  needs.   However,  most  workers  also  have  access 
to  some  subsistence  agriculture  or  fishing  and  receive  support 
from  the  extended  family.   The  hours  of  work  in  any  one  job 
rarely  exceed  35  hours  per  week.   The  Government  periodically 
reminds  employers  to  respect  the  Labor  Code,  which  guarantees  a 
day  off  per  week,  plus  a  month  of  paid  vacation  per  year,  but 
does  not  set  a  maximum  workweek.   Overall,  there  are  very  few 
standards  set  by  the  Ministry  of  Labor.   As  there  is  virtually 
no  manufacturing,  little  attention  has  been  given  to  health  and 
safety  standards  in  this  sector. 



The  Congo's  political  system  changed  dramatically  in  1991  as 
the  country  ended  decades  of  one-party,  Marxist  rule  and 
installed  a  transitional  government  mandated  to  prepare  the  way 
for  democratic,  multiparty  elections  in  1992.   Assuming 
sovereign  powers,  the  National  Conference,  composed  of  some 
1,200  delegates  from  a  broad  cross-section  of  institutions, 
organizations,  and  social  groups,  met  from  February  25  to  June 
10  to  chart  a  new  political  course  for  the  country.   The 
National  Conference  permitted  the  President  of  the  Republic, 
Denis  Sassou  Nguesso,  to  remain  in  office  but  with  only 
ceremonial  duties;  elected  Prime  Minister  Andre  Milongo  to 
serve  as  interim  Head  of  Government;  adopted  the  Fundamental 
Act,  including  a  comprehensive  bill  of  rights,  to  serve  as  an 
interim  constitution;  and  elected  a  153-member  Superior  Council 
of  the  Republic  to  serve  as  an  interim  legislative  body. 

Shortly  before  the  Conference,  the  12-year-old  regime  of  Sassou 
Nguesso  had  legalized  political  parties  and  had  instituted  a 
number  of  other  democratic  reforms,  including  freedom  of 
speech,  press,  and  assembly.   A  new  constitution  will  be  put  up 
for  referendum  sometime  in  early  1992.   At  year's  end,  some  100 
political  parties  had  begun  their  campaigns  for  local, 
legislative,  and  presidential  elections  scheduled  for  the  first 
6  months  of  1992. 

Formerly,  the  Congolese  military  was  closely  tied  to  the 
Congolese  Workers  Party  (PCT)  under  the  one-party  regime.   It 
was  responsible  along  with  the  State  Security  Organization 
(DGSE)  for  internal  security  and  suppressing  dissident 
activity.   High-ranking  military  officers  held  party  positions, 
and  party-designated  "political  officers"  served  at  all  levels 
of  the  military.   In  January  these  positions  were  abolished, 
and  active  membership  in  any  political  party  became 
incompatible  with  holding  a  military  commission.   Throughout 
the  National  Conference  the  military  played  a  neutral, 
apolitical  role.   It  ensured  the  security  of  the  conference 
hall  and  the  delegates,  but  did  not,  as  an  organization, 
participate  in  the  proceedings.   The  transition  Government 
reorganized  the  country's  security  services  and  abolished  the 
military-commanded  DGSE,  leaving  the  civilian  police  with 
responsibility  for  law  enforcement  and  public  order. 

The  economy  is  highly  dependent  on  petroleum  earnings. 
Declining  oil  prices  since  1985  have  forced  the  Government  to 
seek  debt  relief  and  cooperate  with  international  institutions 
in  implementing  a  long-term,  austerity  readjustment  program, 
including  a  gradual  shift  toward  a  free  market  economy. 
Congo's  economic  difficulties  were  a  major  impetus  for 
political  and  economic  reform  in  1991. 

The  human  rights  situation  improved  significantly  in  1991.   The 
National  Conference  decisions,  if  effectively  implemented,  hold 
the  potential  for  entrenching  real  democratic  reform  and  the 
enjoyment  of  a  broad  array  of  civil  and  political  liberties. 
However,  early  in  1992  units  of  the  military  seized  control  of 
parts  of  Brazzaville  and  demanded  the  replacement  of  Prime 
Minister  Milongo,  thus  threatening  the  democratic  transition. 
After  several  days  of  tension,  the  military  returned  to  its 
barracks,  the  Prime  Minister  announced  a  cabinet  reshuffle,  and 
the  provisional  legislature  set  dates  for  elections.   Human 
rights  problems  in  1991  included  police  beatings  of  detainees 
(a  problem  which  has  apparently  not  diminished  during  the 
transition  period),  harsh  prison  conditions,  and  documented 
reports  of  the  existence  of  slavery  in  remote  parts  of  the 



country.   In  response  to  a  large  influx  of  people  fleeing 
serious  unrest  in  Zaire,  the  Government  deported  10,000 
Zairians,  including  many  who  had  been  resident  in  the  Congo  for 
years . 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  such  killings  authorized  or  condoned 
by  the  transition  Government,  or  by  the  Congo's  military  or 
security  forces. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  disappearance. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  new  Congolese  bill  of  rights  forbids  the  use  of  torture, 
and  there  were  no  reports  of  its  use  by  the  current 
Government.   Justice  in  the  Congo  remains  somewhat  arbitrary: 
shopkeepers  still  beat  marketplace  thieves  with  impunity,  and 
the  local  police  reportedly  still  regularly  beat  detainees, 
especially  those  who  allegedly  resist  arrest. 

As  the  Government  has  officially  acknowledged,  prison 
conditions  are  bad.   The  prisons  are  old  and  were  never 
designed  for  long-term  detentions,  since  under  French  rule 
convicted  felons  were  sent  out  of  the  country.   Between  30  to 
100  prisoners  are  currently  kept  in  one  large  cell.   They  sleep 
on  the  floor  and  subsist  on  a  single  meal  per  day.   There  are 
no  exercise  or  educational  facilities,  and  medical  care  is 
rare.   Women  prisoners  are  kept  separate  from  the  men. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  new  bill  of  rights  forbids  arbitrary  arrest,  detention,  or 
exile.   There  is  no  evidence  that  the  interim  Government  has 
engaged  in  any  of  these  practices. 

The  current  Code  of  Penal  Procedure  requires  that  a  detainee  be 
brought  before  a  judge  within  3  days  and  that  a  detainee  must 
be  charged  or  released  within  3  months .   However ,  these 
protections  are  frequently  ignored  in  practice.   The  time 
between  arrest  and  trial  can  extend  to  years,  with  bail  often 
denied  arbitrarily.   Official  indifference  and  insufficient 
personnel  to  handle  case  loads  are  major  factors  in 
perpetuating  these  abuses. 

The  Government  does  not  use  forced  exile  as  a  means  of 
political  control.   All  voluntary  exiles  from  the  former  regime 
have  been  invited  to  return.   Some  members  of  the  previous 
government  have  gone  into  self-imposed  exile  rather  than  face 
prosecution  for  past  crimes. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  court  system  continues  to  be  modeled  on  the  French  system 
and  consists,  under  the  new  Government,  of  three  levels:   local 
courts,  courts  of  appeal,  and  the  Supreme  Court.   All  "special" 



courts  have  been  abolished,  as  have  secret  trials.   The  accused 
has  a  right  to  a  lawyer  of  his  own  choice,  with  the  State 
paying  the  fees  in  cases  of  poverty. 

Judges  are  required  to  have  a  degree  in  judicial  studies  and, 
after  due  service  on  the  bench,  may  be  appointed  by  Parliament 
to  a  term  on  the  Supreme  Court.   It  is  too  early  to  estimate 
the  degree  of  independence  judges  will  be  able  to  exercise. 

Congo's  traditional  courts  still  handle  many  local  disputes, 
especially  property  cases.   They  operate  in  urban  as  well  as 
rural  areas.   Many  domestic  disputes  are  also  adjudicated 
within  the  context  of  the  extended  family. 

The  present  and  future  Governments  are  faced  with  the  problem 
of  coming  to  terms  with  the  human  rights  abuses  and  economic 
crimes  of  the  past.   Several  former  high  officials  have  already 
been  sentenced  to  long  jail  terms  for  embezzlement. 
Prosecutions  for  human  rights  violations  will  probably  not  take 
place  until  an  elected  government  is  in  power.   Former 
officials  suspected  of  crimes  or  civil  rights  abuses  are  not 
prevented  from  traveling  abroad. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

Current  law  requires  a  warrant  for  all  searches  and  forbids  the 
police  to  conduct  searches  during  the  hours  of  darkness.   The 
Government  has  publicly  announced  that  the  police  have  limited 
powers  and  encourages  people  to  insist  on  their  rights.   The 
secret  police,  which  was  formerly  responsible  for  the 
surveillance  of  citizens  antagonistic  to  the  Government,  has 
been  disbanded.   The  new  Government  outlawed  wiretapping  and 
the  maintenance  of  security  files  on  citizens  who  have  not  been 
accused  of  violating  the  law. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  new  bill  of  rights  provides  for  complete  freedom  of 
expression.   People  on  the  street  talk  freely  and  are  often 
quite  critical  of  past  and  present  political  figures,  something 
that  was  impossible  a  year  ago. 

There  is  no  longer  an  official  government  newspaper.   It  has 
been  replaced  by  numerous  private  newspapers  operating  without 
hindrance.   The  broadcast  media,  radio  and  television,  are 
still  state  owned,  although  the  journalists  belong  to  an 
independent  union  and  are  allowed  to  disagree  on  the  air  with 
government  positions.   To  help  eliminate  the  Marxist  bias  in 
the  media,  the  Government  transferred  some  state  reporters 
hired  by  the  old  government,  who  under  Congolese  law  are  almost 
impossible  to  discharge,  to  the  provinces  where  they  would  have 
less  influence  on  national  politics.   There  are,  in  principle, 
no  barriers  besides  economic  ones  to  the  establishment  of 
private  radio  and  television  services. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  new  bill  of  rights  guarantees  the  freedom  to  assemble  and 
associate  without  government  interference.   Those  wishing  to 
hold  public  assemblies  must  inform  the  Minister  of  the 
Interior,  who  reserves  the  right  to  forbid  assemblies  inimical 
to  public  peace  or  welfare.   In  practice,  permission  was  almost 



never  denied  since  the  new  Government  came  to  power.   The  right 
of  political  parties  to  form  was  widely  exercised.   The  single 
political  party  of  the  former  government  has  been  replaced  by 
nearly  80  independent  parties,  which  compete  freely  for  members 
and  office. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

There  is  no  state  religion;  the  people  are  free  to  join  any 
church  or  practice  any  religion.   Denominations  not  already 
established  in  the  Congo  (there  were  only  seven  allowed  by  the 
former  government)  must  complete  a  rather  cumbersome 
registration  process.   Local  missionaries  report  no  hindrance 
either  before  or  after  registration.   According  to  the  Ministry 
of  the  Interior,  registration  is  for  the  sole  purpose  of 
granting  legal  status.   The  current  Government  is  in  the 
process  of  returning  church  property  confiscated  by  the  former 
regime.   Church  leaders  of  the  seven  denominations  recognized 
by  the  former  regime  were  active  in  the  National  Conference  and 
continue  to  play  a  role  in  the  interim  Government. 

The  Jehovah's  Witnesses,  prohibited  in  previous  years,  are 
again  active  and  held  a  large  public  rally  in  1991.   As  far  as 
is  known,  the  Government  has  not  restricted  the  activities  of 
this  group. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

The  new  bill  of  rights  grants  freedom  of  movement  both  inside 
and  outside  the  country,  and  there  are,  in  practice,  no 
restrictions  on  travel.   In  contrast  to  the  past,  there  were  no 
reports  of  arbitrary,  politically  motivated  denials  of 
passports  by  the  transition  Government.   The  office  formerly 
responsible  for  controlling  movement  within  the  Congo  has  been 

The  Congolese  have  traditionally  been  hospitable  to  refugees, 
allowing  them  to  enter,  obtain  work,  and  have  access  to 
government  services  on  the  same  basis  as  Congolese  citizens. 
The  Government  was  especially  helpful  during  the  September  and 
October  evacuations  from  Zaire,  setting  up  refugee  processing 
centers  for  African  and  European  evacuees  and  providing  food, 
shelter,  and  assistance  with  onward  travel  arrangements.   The 
large  influx  of  Zairians,  however,  strained  this  traditional 
policy,  and,  declaring  the  Zairians  to  be  economic  migrants, 
the  Government  forcibly  deported  about  10,000  Zairians, 
including  many  who  had  lived  in  the  Congo  for  years. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  acting  through  the  National  Conference  forced  a 
peaceful  change  in  government  in  1991.   The  Conference 
abolished  the  old  one-party  system,  set  multiparty  elections 
for  1992,  and  established  a  broadly  based  transitional 
Government  headed  by  Prime  Minister  Milongo.   If  followed  to 
completion,  this  process  will  result  in  a  functioning  democracy 
by  the  end  of  1992,  governed  by  a  Prime  Minister  and  a 
bicameral  legislative  body.   Under  the  future  constitution,  the 
President  of  the  Republic  will  almost  certainly  have  more 
responsibility  than  the  ceremonial  duties  now  entrusted  to 
President  Sassou  Nguesso.   The  proposed  constitution  has  been 
published  and  awaits  the  upcoming  referendum. 



Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

There  are  several  domestic  human  rights  organizations,  which 
include  the  National  Committee  on  Hiaman  Rights,  headed  by  Dr. 
Norbert  Lamini  (see  Section  5),  the  Congolese  Human  Rights 
League,  and  a  committee  of  the  Congolese  Association  of  Women 
Lawyers.   All  have  criticized  aspects  of  past  government  human 
rights  practices. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  of  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  new  bill  of  rights  forbids  all  discrimination  on  any  basis 
and  requires  equal  pay  for  equal  work.   A  small  group  of  about 
7,000  Pygmies,  who  live  in  the  northern  forests,  are  isolated 
from  the  mainstream  of  Congolese  life,  but  there  is  no  official 
discrimination  against  them.   However,  missionaries  report  that 
nurses  at  some  government  medical  centers  frequently  refuse  to 
provide  services  to  Pygmies.   Congolese  human  rights  activist 
Dr.  Norbert  Lamini  reported  finding  "incontrovertible  evidence" 
of  the  practice  of  traditional,  ancestral  slavery  in  parts  of 
the  Congo,  especially  the  keeping  of  Pygmy  slaves  by  Bantu 
farmers  in  the  rural  north  of  the  country,  around  the  district 
capital  of  Ouesso.   Dr.  Lamini  also  reported  evidence  of 
Bantu/Bantu  slavery  in  the  port  city  of  Pointe  Noire. 

There  is  no  officially  sanctioned  discrimination  against  women 
in  the  Congo,  except  in  the  area  of  adultery,  which  is  legal 
for  men,  but  not  for  women.   Despite  the  lack  of  legal 
discrimination,  there  remains  a  large  disparity  between  the 
salaries  of  men  and  women  and  in  educational  opportunities. 
According  to  a  1991  United  Nations  study,  females  receive  only 
33  percent  of  the  schooling  males  receive.   Moreover,  although 
several  women  have  attained  high  official  status,  women  in 
general  often  find  themselves  relegated  to  a  secondary  role  in 
both  urban  and  rural  areas. 

Polygamy  is  legal  and  widely  practiced,  but  a  woman  may,  at  a 
state-sponsored  wedding,  bind  her  future  husband,  with  his 
agreement,  to  a  monogamous  marriage.   An  estimated  80  percent 
of  urban  women  have  the  opportunity  to  choose  monogamy.   In  the 
villages  the  figure  is  less  than  20  percent.   There  are  no 
statistics  available  concerning  the  percentage  of  polygamous  or 
monogamous  marriages.   The  husband,  father,  or  other  male  head 
of  family  has  considerable  legal  or  actual  control  over  the 
activities  of  female  family  members.   Indeed,  on  the  death  of 
the  husband,  the  wife  is  often  lumped  together  with  the 
husband's  other  moveable  property  and  parceled  out  to  the 
relatives.   The  husband's  power  is  often  moderated  by  the 
influence  of  the  extended  family. 

Anecdotal  evidence  suggests  that  violence  against  women, 
especially  wife  beating,  is  not  uncommon,  but  there  are  no 
statistics  available.   Family  violence  against  women  is 
generally  handled  in  the  context  of  the  extended  family  rather 
than  in  the  formal  judicial  system.   Female  circumcision  is  not 
practiced  among  the  Congolese.   The  new  Government  has  not 
addressed  the  issue  of  violence  against  women. 


Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

The  Labor  Code  affirms  the  right  of  workers  to  associate 
freely,  and  there, are  no  restrictions  on  the  formation  of  trade 
unions.   The  right  to  join  a  union  is  also  protected  under 
Article  15  of  the  new  Bill  of  Rights.   The  former  single 
confederation,  the  Congolese  Trade  Union  Confederation  (CSC), 
has  lost  its  official  status  but  is  still  the  only  umbrella 
orgcinization  in  the  country.   The  checkoff  system  which  gave 
the  CSC  much  of  its  power  was  abolished  in  June  by  Decree 
91-672  of  the  interim  Government.   After  the  CSC  lost  its 
monopoly  status,  numerous  small  unions  based  on  employment 
interests  were  established.   Unions  may  now  freely  form  and 
join  federations  or  confederations  and  affiliate  with  and 
participate  in  international  trade  union  bodies.   The  new 
Congolese  trade  uniions  have  not  yet  contracted  any  formal 
international  affiliations,  but  a  number  of  them  cooperate  with 
foreign,  usually  French,  counterparts. 

Unions  are  free  to  strike,  but  in  theory  a  strike  may  not  take 
place  until  after  both  parties,  employer  and  union,  have  gone 
through  a  process  of  nonbinding  arbitration  under  the  auspices 
of  the  regional  inspector  of  the  Department  of  Labor .   The 
Government  reserves  the  right  to  halt  all  strikes  that  are 
"inimical  to  the  public  order,"  a  phrase  which  it  currently 
interprets  to  mean  "violent."  There  were  several  strikes  in 
1991,  especially  in  the  oil  sector.   There  were  also  brief 
transportation  strikes  and  general  strikes.   Most  of  these 
occurred  in  Pointe  Noire  and  took  place  without  government 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  free  union  system  is  recent,  and  not  all  the  methods  of 
bargaining  and  mediation  have  yet  been  worked  out.  In  the 
past,  wages  were  determined  by  agreement  between  the  union, 
Unicongo  (the  employers'  group),  and  the  Ministry  of  Labor. 
The  salary  schedules  were  then  published  in  one  of  the  many 
"conventions"  that  exist  for  each  industry. 

The  unions  are  currently  engaged  in  a  common  effort  to 
accomplish  three  major  goals:   (1)  gain  higher  wages;  (2) 
tenure  more  categories  of  workers  (making  them  extremely 
expensive  to  fire,  even  in  cases  of  economic  contraction);  and 
(3)  prevent  the  privatization  of  the  old  state  monopolies. 
Goals  one  and  two  are  part  of  every  current  bargaining 
session.   These  sessions  are  frequently  tinged  with  violence; 
and  several  death  threats  against  employers  were  reported  in 
1991.   The  third  goal  is  presently  in  abeyance  as  the  State  has 
not  yet  abolished  any  of  its  monopolies.   However,  this  may 
become  an  issue  after  the  June  1992  elections,  when  a  popularly 
elected  government  is  expected  to  begin  promised  restucturing 
of  state-owned  enterprises. 

Differences  between  workers  and  employers  are  adjudicated  in 
special  labor  courts  jointly  administered  by  the  Departments  of 
Justice  and  Labor,  with  oversight  by  the  Supreme  Court.   These 
labor  courts  have  jurisdiction  over  all  labor  issues,  not  just 
those  involving  unions. 

There  are  no  special  export  processing  zones  in  the  Congo. 



c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor,  except  as  part  of  the  penal  process,  is  forbidden 
under  the  new  bill  of  rights  and  is  not  currently  practiced. 
Traditional  forms  of  slavery,  however,  persist  in  parts  of  the 
country  (see  Section  5). 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  age  for  employment  is  16.   This  is  enforced  only  in 
the  formal  wage  sector  by  the  Ministry  of  Labor.   Children 
often  work  at  younger  ages  on  family  farms  in  the  large 
sxibsistence  agricultural  sector. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  Government  sets  a  minimum  wage,  theoretically  at  a  level 
that  allows  for  "human  dignity."   In  those  trades  subject  to 
"conventions,"  (see  Section  6.b.)  the  agreed  upon  minimxim  wages 
are  all  considerably  higher  than  the  legal  minimum.   However, 
even  these  wages  are  often  guite  low  in  comparison  to  the  cost 
of  living  and  many  workers  hold  second  jobs,  practice 
subsistence  agriculture,  or  receive  help  from  the  extended 
family.   The  Labor  Code  specifies  not  only  reasonable  pay,  but 
also  paid  holidays,  sick  leave,  overtime  after  40  hours  a  week, 
and  regular  days  of  leisure.   Health  and  safety  standards  are 
supposed  to  be  enforced  by  twice  yearly  visits  by  officers  from 
the  Ministry  of  Labor.   An  informal  survey  suggests  that  the 
inspections  are  made  but  on  a  less  than  regular  basis. 



Power  in  Cote  d'lvoire  is  concentrated  in  President  Felix 
Houphouet-Boigny,  who  has  been  the  country's  leader  since 
independence,  and  in  the  political  party  he  foiinded,  the 
Democratic  Party  of  Cote  d'lvoire  (PDCI).   After  many  years  as 
a  de  facto  one-party  state.  Cote  d'lvoire  adopted  a  multiparty 
political  system  in  1990  and  held  multiparty  elections  at  the 
presidential,  legislative,  and  municipal  levels.   In  the  same 
year,  the  President  appointed  a  Prime  Minister  who  serves  at 
his  pleasure.   Despite  genuine  reforms  which  have  resulted  in  a 
flourishing  of  political  parties  and  opposition  groups, 
Houphouet-Boigny  and  the  PDCI,  winners  of  the  1990  elections, 
continue  to  dominate  all  levels  of  government. 

Cote  d'lvoire's  security  apparatus  includes  the  Security  Police 
(Surete)  and  the  Gendarmerie,  a  branch  of  the  armed  forces  with 
responsibility  for  general  law  enforcement.  The  Gendarmerie  is 
the  primary  police  organization  outside  the  cities  and  is  under 
the  Ministry  of  Defense. 

During  the  1980 's.  Cote  d'lvoire  was  squeezed  by  a  heavy  debt 
burden  and  falling  prices  for  its  exports,  principally  cocoa, 
coffee,  and  tropical  woods.   Per  capita  annual  income  slipped 
in  recent  years  from  well  over  $1,000  to  about  $700.   After 
reaching  agreement  with  the  International  Monetary  Fund  (IMF) 
and  World  Bank  on  a  stabilization  program  in  1989,  the 
Government  brought  its  budget  under  tighter  control,  instituted 
changes  in  the  tax  code,  and  launched  an  ambitious  program  of 
privatization  and  administrative  reform. 

Human  rights  in  general  improved  in  1991  as  the  Government  came 
to  accept  the  existence  of  various  opposition  groupings  and  a 
vigorous  and  vigilant  press.   Nonetheless,  there  were  serious 
human  rights  violations,  including  physical  abuse  resulting  in 
the  death  of  one  soldier  and  a  raid  on  university  dormitories 
in  which  three  young  women  were  repeatedly  raped,  and  many 
students  severely  beaten.   Security  forces  sometimes  use 
beatings  to  extract  confessions  or  as  punishment.   Further,  the 
Government  clamped  down  on  the  press  for  defamation  of  public 
officials  and  insulting  the  President. 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  known  political  killings  by  government  forces; 
one  student  was  killed  by  other  students  (see  Sec.  l.d.).   In 
the  only  known  extrajudicial  killing,  according  to  credible 
reports  Corporal  Benjamin  Ble  Liade  died  on  July  19  as  a  result 
of  severe  physical  abuse  while  being  interrogated  by  the  army 
in  connection  with  an  alleged  mutiny. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  substantiated  reports  of  officially  sanctioned 
abduction  or  disappearance. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 

Treatment  or  Punishment 

Criminal  suspects  are  sometimes  beaten  by  the  police  in  order 
to  extract  a  confession  or  as,  punishment .   Non-Ivorian  Africans 



residing  in  Cote  d'lvoire  are  routinely  treated  more  roughly  by 
police  on  arrest  than  are  Ivorians.   There  were  no  instances  in 
1991  of  officials  being  punished  for  mistreatment  of  detainees 
or  prisoners. 

On  May  17-18,  military  commandos  staged  a  midnight  raid  on 
University  of  Abidjan  dormitories  in  Yopougon  to  arrest 
dissident  student  leaders.   Three  women  were  repeatedly  raped 
by  soldiers,  and  several  students  were  severely  beaten.   The 
soldiers  forced  students  to  engage  in  humiliating  acts  such  as 
licking  up  the  blood  of  fellow  students.   Under  public 
pressure.   President  Houphouet-Boigny  established  a  Commission 
of  Inquiry  which  reported  to  him  on  November  15.   The  report 
was  only  made  public  on  January  29,  1992.   The  President  did 
not  accept  the  Commission's  recommendation  that  those  persons 
identified  as  responsible  be  punished. 

Sanitary  conditions  in  many  prisons  are  abysmal.   Common 
problems  include  open  sewers,  lack  of  bathing  facilities, 
unclean  food,  and  infestation  by  rats  and  mice.   Such 
conditions  at  the  Yopougon  Prison  resulted  in  an  outbreak  of 
cholera  in  early  September  which  killed  some  50  prisoners. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Under  the  Code  of  Penal  Procedure,  a  public  prosecutor  may 
order  the  detention  of  a  suspect  for  up  to  48  hours  without 
bringing  charges.   The  Code  dictates  that  longer  detention  must 
be  ordered  by  a  magistrate,  who  may  authorize  periods  of  up  to 
4  months,  but  who  must  also  provide  the  Minister  of  Justice,  on 
a  monthly  basis,  a  written  justification  for  continued 
detention.   There  have  been  some  reports  that  local  police  have 
held  persons  for  more  than  48  hours  without  bringing  charges. 
Defendants  are  not  guaranteed  the  right  to  a  judicial 
determination  of  the  legality  of  their  detention.   The 
Government  has  been  known  in  the  past  to  have  critics  convicted 
on  trumped-up  criminal  charges  so  as  to  avoid  being  accused  of 
holding  political  detainees.   Over  100  students  were  detained 
briefly  after  the  May  events,  even  though  most  were  innocent  of 
any  wrongdoing. 

Following  the  June  17  murder  of  Zebie  Thierry,  a  reputed 
government -hi red  thug,  by  a  University  of  Abidjan  student  mob, 
some  20  students  were  arrested  and  jailed.   Two  of  them  were 
charged  with  murder,  instigation,  and  destruction  of  property. 
The  others  were  held  without  charge  until  President 
Houphouet-Boigny  ordered  their  release  2  months  later. 

In  the  past,  some  prominent  critics  of  the  Government  have 
chosen  to  live  and  work  abroad.   With  the  restoration  of  a 
multiparty  political  system  in  1990,  however,  many  of  those 
with  serious  political  aims  returned.   Political  exiles  from  a 
number  of  countries  have  found  Cote  d'lvoire  a  hospitable  safe 
haven  as  long  as  they  do  not  engage  in  political  activities 
directed  against  their  home  governments. 

e.  Denial  of  a  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  modern  judicial  system  is  headed  by  a  Supreme  Court  and 
includes  a  Court  of  Appeals  and  lower  courts.   Although  the 
judiciary  is  generally  considered  independent  of  the  executive 
in  ordinary  criminal  cases,  in  practice  as  well  as  under  the 
Constitution's  separation  of  powers  provisions,  the  judiciary 
follows  the  lead  of  the  executive  in  cases  concerning  perceived 
national  security  issues.   There  have  also  been  credible 



reports  that  the  courts  have  given  lenient  treatment  to  persons 
with  personal  connections  to  the  Government. 

Ivorian  law  establishes  the  right  to  a  public  trial,  although 
key  evidence  is  sometimes  given  in  camera.   Defendants  have  the 
right  to  be  present  at  their  trials,  and  their  innocence  is 
presumed.   Those  Convicted  have  the  right  of  appeal,  though  in 
practice  verdicts  are  rarely  overturned.   Defendants  accused  of 
felonies  or  capital  crimes  have  the  right  to  legal  counsel,  and 
the  judicial  system  provides  for  court-appointed  attorneys  for 
indigent  defendants.   In  practice,  many  defendants  cannot 
afford  private  counsel,  and  court-appointed  attorneys  are  not 
readily  available. 

In  rural  areas,  justice  is  often  administered  at  the  village 
level  through  traditional  institutions  which  handle  domestic 
disputes,  minor  land  questions,  and  family  law.   Dispute 
resolution  is  by  extended  debate,  with  no  known  instances  of 
resort  to  physical  punishment.   These  traditional  courts  are 
increasingly  superseded  by  the  formal  judicial  system. 
Civilians  are  not  tried  by  military  courts.   Although  there  are 
no  appellate  courts  within  the  military  justice  system,  persons 
convicted  by  a  military  tribunal  may  petition  the  Supreme  Court 
to  set  aside  the  tribunal's  verdict  and  order  a  retrial. 

It  is  a  crime,  punishable  by  3  months  to  2  years  in  prison,  to 
offend  the  President.   In  1991  a  journalist,  who  wrote  that 
President  Houphouet-Boigny  had  "lost  his  reason"  and  was  a 
"tyrant,"  and  his  publisher  were  convicted  and  served  3  months 
and  2  months,  respectively,  in  prison.   They  also  paid 
substantial  fines.   A  businessman.  Innocent  Anaky,  who  was 
widely  believed  to  have  been  charged  with  financial  impropriety 
because  of  his  political  activities,  was  convicted  and  given  an 
unusually  harsh  20-year  sentence.   He  served  nearly  3  years  in 
prison  until  his  release  in  a  general  amnesty  on  September  29. 
The  total  number  of  political  prisoners  is  unknown  but  is 
believed  to  be  small.   The  Government  claims  that  there  are 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

In  Cote  d'lvoire's  multiparty  political  system,  citizens  are 
free  to  join  any  political  party  or  none  at  all.   However, 
public  officials  and  employees  of  state-owned  corporations  are 
subjected  to  pressure  to  become  members  of  the  PDCI .   Party 
membership  lists  are  sometimes  passed  to  employees  by  their 
supervisors,  and  those  who  fail  to  sign  up  are  believed  to 
suffer  in  terms  of  promotion. 

The  Code  of  Penal  Procedure  specifies  that  a  police  official  or 
investigative  magistrate  may  conduct  searches  of  homes  without 
a  judicial  warrant  if  there  is  reason  to  believe  that  there  is 
evidence  on  the  premises  concerning  a  crime.   The  official  must 
have  the  prosecutor's  agreement  to  retain  any  objects  seized  in 
the  search  and  is  required  to  have  witnesses  to  the  search, 
which  may  not  take  place  between  the  hours  of  9  p.m.  and  4  a.m. 
The  police  sometimes  use  a  general  search  warrant  without  a 
name  or  address .   Such  was  the  case  in  mid-July  when  the  houses 
of  three  prominent  opposition  leaders  were  searched  in 
connection  with  the  Zebie  killing  a  month  earlier.   None  of 
those  searched  had  been  at  the  scene  of  the  crime,  and  no 
incriminating  evidence  was  found  in  their  homes.   In  addition, 
the  police  have  entered  homes  of  foreign  Africans  (or  rounded 
them  up  on  the  streets),  taken  them  to  the  local  police 



Station,  and  extorted  small  amounts  of  money  for  alleged  minor 
offenses.   In  October  officials  of  the  Bureau  of  Mines  in 
Odienne,  without  notice,  burned  down  a  mining  camp  in  which 
about  500  people  were  living.   According  to  the  officials,  the 
miners  had  been  working  without  a  permit.   There  is  an  ongoing 
government  investigation  of  the  incident,  but  no  results  have 
yet  been  released  nor  has  anyone  been  charged. 

There  are  credible  reports  that  the  police  used  informers  at 
the  University  of  Abidjan  to  provide  data  on  dissident 
political  activity.   Private  telephone  conversations  are 
believed  to  be  monitored  to  some  degree,  although  the  extent  of 
such  monitoring  is  unknown.   There  is  no  evidence  that  private 
correspondence  is  monitored. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Free  expression  is  provided  for  in  the  Constitution,  but  until 
recently  this  right  was  significantly  limited  in  practice.   In 
1991  public  criticism  of  government  policies  and  even  of  the 
President  was  common.   Critics  of  the  Government  express 
themselves  in  informal  situations  without  fear  of  reprisal. 

The  Government  operates  the  radio  and  television  networks  and 
uses  these  media  to  promote  its  policies.   Most  of  the  news 
programming  is  devoted  to  coverage  of  the  activities  of  the 
President,  the  Government,  and  the  PDCI .   The  opposition 
parties  repeatedly  appealed  to  the  Minister  of  Communication  to 
grant  them  greater  access  to  the  state-run  broadcast  media. 
The  National  Assembly  President  negotiated  an  agreement  with 
the  opposition  to  increase  coverage  of  opposition  policies  and 
viewpoints.   As  a  result,  coverage  has  increased. 

The  variety  of  newspapers  expanded  significantly  in  1991  to  a 
total  of  more  than  20.   There  are  now  four  daily  newspapers. 
Those  with  the  widest  circulation,  Fraternite-Matin  and  the 
evening  paper  Ivoire  Soir,  are  government  run.   In  1991  both 
newspapers  ran  stories  critical  of  government  policies  and 
increased  their  coverage  of  the  political  opposition.   A  third 
daily.  La  Voie,  is  an  organ  of  the  Ivorian  Popular  Front  (FPI), 
Cote  d' Ivoire 's  strongest  opposition  party.   Finally,  La 
Chronique  du  Soir  is  independent.   Most  of  the  weekly 
newspapers  are  either  affiliated  with  opposition  political 
parties  or,  if  unaffiliated,  nevertheless  critical  of  the 
Government.   Foreign  publications  circulate  freely,  but  the 
Government  occasionally  expels  foreign  journalists  who  write 
unfavorable  articles.   An  Agence  France  Presse  journalist,  who 
inaccurately  reported  that  students  were  killed  in  the  Yopougon 
raid  of  May  17-18,  was  expelled  from  the  country. 

Although  criticism  of  government  policies  is  tolerated,  insults 
or  attacks  on  the  honor  of  the  country's  highest  officials  are 
not.   Two  Ivorian  journalists  served  jail  sentences  in  1991  for 
offending  the  President.   In  addition,  six  journalists  from 
four  newspapers  were  convicted  on  November  6  for  alleging 
without  proof  that  the  Prime  Minister  was  corrupt.   Each  was 
given  a  suspended  sentence  of  2  months  in  jail  and  a  fine  of 
about  $3,500.   The  National  Assembly  President  strongly 
criticized  the  press  in  an  October  speech,  accusing  them  of 
"violence  of  the  pen."  A  press  law  was  enacted  in  December 
which  created  a  new  commission  to  enforce  laws  against 
publishing  defamatory  material  or  material  "undermining  the 



credit  of  the  nation."  The  law  imposes  stiff  penalties, 
including  the  seizure  of  offending  newspapers. 

Many  prominent  Ivorian  scholars  are  active  in  opposition 
politics  and  have  not  suffered  professionally.   The  Government 
insists,  however,  that  teachers  separate  their  political 
activity  from  their  work  in  the  classroom. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Freedom  of  assembly  is  guaranteed  by  the  Constitution  but  in 
practice  is  restricted  when  the  Government  perceives  a 
significant  and  immediate  danger  to  public  order.   Although 
opposition  parties  believe  that  the  Constitution  permits 
private  associations  of  any  sort,  the  Government  disagrees,  and 
all  organizations  must  register  before  commencing  activities. 
Registration  is  sometimes  denied,  and  this  device  has  prevented 
the  formation  of  some  political  parties,  although  40  were 
registered  by  the  end  of  the  year.   Further,  Ivorian  law 
prohibits  the  formation  of  political  parties  along  ethnic  or 
religious  lines. 

Permits  are  required  for  public  meetings  and  are  sometimes 
denied  to  the  opposition  but  never  to  the  PDCI .   Gatherings 
occasionally  are  prohibited  to  prevent  the  expression  of 
controversial  views  in  public  forums.   Following  the  Yopougon 
raid  of  May  17-18,  the  Ivorian  League  of  Human  Rights  (LIDHO) 
applied  for  permission  to  organize  a  protest  march.   The 
Minister  of  Interior  and  Security  proposed  an  itinerary  which 
was  unacceptable  to  LIDHO.   On  June  5,  LIDHO  demonstrated 
without  a  permit.   Police  used  truncheons  and  tear  gas  to 
disperse  the  peaceful  crowd,  and  eight  people  were  injured. 

On  June  17,  several  thousand  students  rioted  at  the  University 
of  Abidjan,  and  part  of  the  mob  killed  a  reputed  government 
agent  (see  Section  l.d.).   Three  days  later,  the  Prime  Minister 
ordered  the  prosecution  of  the  executive  board  of  the 
Federation  of  Students  and  Pupils  of  Cote  d'lvoire  (FESCI)  for 
incitement  to  murder,  and  he  dissolved  FESCI  under  the  law 
which  prohibits  associations  from  provoking  public  disorder. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

There  are  no  known  impediments  to  religious  expression.   There 
is  no  dominant  religion,  and  no  faith  is  officially  favored  by 
the  Government.   The  open  practice  of  religion  is  permitted, 
and  there  are  no  restrictions  on  religious  ceremonies  or 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

The  Government  exercises  minimal  control  over  domestic  travel. 
However,  there  are  numerous  internal  roadblocks  at  which 
persons  are  frequently  harassed,  and  small  amounts  of  money  are 
extorted  for  contrived  or  minor  infractions. 

Ivorians  normally  can  travel  abroad  and  emigrate  freely.   In 
1991,  however,  teachers  were  required  to  present  to  the  Ivorian 
passport  control  before  boarding  an  airplane  the  written 
authorization  of  the  Ministry  of  Education;  if  they  were  on 
strike,  authorization  was  denied.   Ivorians  have  the  right  of 
voluntary  repatriation.   There  are  no  known  cases  of  revocation 
of  citizenship. 



Cote  d'lvoire's  refugee  and  asylum  practices  are  liberal.   The 
country  has  resettled  or  granted  safe  haven  to  many  refugees 
from  different  countries.   In  1990  more  than  230,000  refugees 
from  the  Liberian  civil  war  entered  the  country,  and  most 
stayed  through  1991.   While  in  Cote  d'lvoire,  refugees  receive 
1-year  renewable  resident  visas  for  their  first  5  years  in  the 
country,  after  which  they  may  apply  for  permanent  residence. 
The  Liberians  are  a  special  case;  the  Government  expects  that 
they  will  go  back  to  Liberia  as  soon  as  that  country  returns  to 
normal.   The  Government  is  actively  involved  in  managing 
Liberian  refugee  relief,  even  though  most  resources  come  from 
foreign  and  international  donors.   The  continued  arrival  of 
Liberians  in  1991  has  led  the  Government  to  fear  that  relief  is 
acting  as  a  magnet.    It  has  established  a  committee  to  review 
the  case  of  each  new  arrival  to  determine  whether  the  person 
should  be  accorded  refugee  status.   The  Government  is  reluctant 
to  implement  self-sufficiency  activities  that  might  encourage 
refugees  to  remain  in  Cote  d'  Ivore. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

President  Houphouet-Boigny  and  the  PDCI  were  returned  to  power 
in  1990  in  the  first  multiparty  presidential,  legislative,  and 
municipal  elections  since  independence.   Proceedings  were 
marred  by  some  serious  irregularities.   Only  at  the  end  of  1991 
did  the  National  Assembly,  which  has  the  authority  to  decide  on 
the  validity  of  the  elections  of  its  members,  convene  a 
committee  to  decide  whether  irregularities  in  11  districts 
would  invalidate  the  results. 

Before  the  presidential  elections,  the  National  Assembly 
effectively  restricted  the  number  of  candidates  by  imposing  the 
stringent  requirement  that  each  candidate  must  pay  a  large 
deposit  (approximately  $80,000),  refundable  only  if  the 
candidate  received  more  than  10  percent  of  the  vote  in  the 
first  round  of  balloting.   Opposition  parties,  which  became 
legal  only  in  May  1990,  charged  that  there  had  been  inadequate 
time  to  prepare  for  elections  held  during  October-December  of 
the  same  year.   Further,  they  faced  onerous  restrictions  on 
holding  meetings  and  demonstrations  and  unecpaal  access  to  the 
state-controlled  media.   There  were  numerous  assertions  by 
opposition  parties  of  ballot  box  stuffing,  procedural 
irregularities,  and  fictitious,  or  late-designated,  polling 
places.   In  the  legislative  election,  the  names  of  well  over 
100  duly  registered  candidates  did  not  appear  on  the  ballot. 

President  Houphouet-Boigny  is  both  Head  of  State  and  president 
of  the  PDCI.   In  late  1990,  he  appointed  a  Prime  Minister  in 
whose  hands  are  concentrated  most  day-to-day  governmental 
affairs  and  much  economic  power.   The  Prime  Minister  serves  at 
the  pleasure  of  the  President.   The  PDCI  holds  165  of  the  175 
seats  in  the  National  Assembly,  which  is  subordinate  to  the 
Executive  branch.   The  Assembly  confirms  and  ratifies 
legislative  initiatives  received  from  the  President.   Under  the 
President's  leadership,  the  party  is  governed  by  an  86-member 
Central  Committee  and  a  418-member  Political  Bureau.   The  PDCI 
is  a  conservative  party  which  has  accepted  the  new  multiparty 
political  system.   The  chief  opposition  party,  the  FPI,  calls 
for  a  more  honest  and  democratic  government  and  an  end  to 

Elections  for  President,  the  National  Assembly,  and  municipal 
councils  are  held  every  5  years,  with  the  next  elections 
scheduled  for  1995.   Although  under  the  Constitution  only 



citizens  are  entitled  to  vote,  the  electoral  law  extends  voting 
rights  to  non-Ivorian  Africans  living  in  Cote  d'lvoire,  who 
constitute  approximately  one-third  of  the  country's 
population.   There  is  a  secret  ballot. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitudes  Regarding  International  and 
Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

An  internal,  independent  human  rights  organization,  the  Ivorian 
League  of  Human  Rights  (LIDHO),  was  formed  in  1987  and  was 
recognized  by  the  Government  in  July  1990.   The  League  has 
actively  investigated  alleged  violations  of  human  rights  and 
issued  press  releases  and  reports,  some  of  which  were  critical 
of  the  Government.   In  June  1991,  the  Ivorian  Association  for 
the  Promotion  of  Human  Rights  (AIPDH)  was  established  for  the 
purpose  of  improving  Ivorians'  awareness  of  their  basic 
rights.   The  group's  first  major  project  consisted  of 
translating  human  rights  documents  into  local  languages. 
Neither  LIDHO  nor  AIPDH  has  been  impeded  by  the  Government  (see 
Section  2.b. ) . 

The  Government  has  been  cooperative  in  the  past  towards 
international  inquiries  into  its  human  rights  practices. 
Although  the  Government  has  not  responded  publicly  to  appeals 
from  Amnesty  International  and  the  International  Labor 
Organization  (ILO),  it  has  subsecjuently  taken  positive  action 
to  correct  abuses. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

There  is  no  overt,  official  discrimination  based  on  race,  sex, 
religion,  language,  or  social  status.   Although  French  is  the 
official  language  and  the  language  of  instruction  in  the 
schools,  radio  and  television  programs  are  broadcast  in  major 
local  languages.   Social  and  economic  mobility  are  not  limited 
by  policy  or  custom  on  the  basis  of  ethnicity  or  religion,  but 
there  are  pronounced  inec[ualities  based  on  sex,  with  males 
clearly  playing  the  preponderant  role  overall. 

While  some  Ivorian  traditional  societies  accord  women 
considerable  political  and  economic  power,  in  rural  areas 
tribal  customs  dictate  that  menial  tasks  are  performed  mostly 
by  women,  although  farm  work  by  men  is  also  common.   Government 
policy  is  to  encourage  full  participation  by  women  in  social 
and  economic  life,  but  there  is  considerable  informal 
resistance  among  employers  to  hiring  women,  who  may  be 
considered  "undependable"  by  virtue  of  potential  pregnancy. 

Clitoral  excision,  which  is  illegal  in  Cote  d'lvoire,  is 
nevertheless  practiced  particularly  among  the  rural  population 
in  the  north  and  west.   The  operation,  which  usually  takes 
place  at  puberty  as  one  part  of  a  rite  of  passage,  is  generally 
performed  outside  modern  medical  facilities  and  can  be 
extremely  painful  and  dangerous  to  health.   The  Government  does 
not  make  strong  efforts  to  prevent  the  practice,  and  social 
pressures  are  sufficiently  strong  that  it  persists, 
particularly  in  small  villages  where  the  tribal  chief  is  the 
primary  decisionmaker.   Excision  is  becoming  less  common  as  the 
population  becomes  better  educated. 

Violence  against  women,  especially  wife  beating,  is  neither 
widely  practiced  nor  tacitly  condoned.   However, 
representatives  of  women's  organizations  state  that  wife 



beating  does  occur,  often  leading  to  divorce.   Doctors  state 
that  they  rarely  see  the  victims  of  domestic  violence.   A 
severe  social  stigma  is  attached  to  domestic  violence  of  any 
kind;  neighbors  will  often  intervene  in  a  domestic  quarrel  to 
protect  a  person  who  is  the  object  of  physical  abuse.   The 
courts  and  police  view  domestic  violence  as  a  family  problem 
unless  serious  bodily  harm  is  inflicted,  in  which  case  criminal 
proceedings  do  take  place.   The  Government  has  no  clear-cut 
policy  regarding  wife  beating  beyond  the  obvious  strictures 
against  violence  in  the  civil  code. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  have  the  right  to  form  unions  under  the  Labor  Code  of 
1964,  but  union  membership  is  not  mandatory.   For  almost  30 
years  the  government-sponsored  labor  confederation,  the  General 
Union  of  Workers  of  Cote  d'lvoire  (UGTCI),  dominated  union 
activity,  except  for  the  independent  university  teachers', 
secondary  school  teachers',  and  doctors'  unions.   In  1991 
several  formerly  UGTCI-af filiated  unions  including  those 
representing  transport,  media,  customs,  and  bank  workers  broke 
away  and  became  independent.   An  independent  labor  federation, 
Dignite,  was  officially  authorized  in  1990  but  has  attracted 
few  members.   The  leader  of  the  UGTCI  occupies  a  senior 
position  in  the  PDCI  hierarchy.   The  UGTCI  is  a  relatively 
passive  coordination  mechanism  rather  than  an  active  force  for 
worker  rights,  although  it  has  had  some  success  in  improving 
working  conditions  and  safety  standards.   The  UGTCI  represents 
approximately  one-third  to  one-half  of  the  organizable  work 
force.   Independent  unions  tend  to  be  more  activist  than  those 
within  the  UGTCI  structure.  ,Some  of  the  independent  unions 
have  links  to  opposition  political  parties. 

In  March  gendarmes  broke  up  an  extraordinary  congress  of  the 
secondary  school  teachers'  union,  using  billy  clubs  and  whips. 
The  Union  congress  voted  in  a  new  Secretary  General,  whom  the 
Government  refused  to  recognize.   The  previous  Secretary 
General  was  perceived  by  the  union  membership  as  being  too 
close  to  the  ruling  PDCI.   In  November  the  progovernment 
faction  of  the  union  elected  a  different  Secretary  General  with 
the  result  that  there  are  two  claimants  on  the  position.   The 
leader  of  an  independent  trade  union  was  repeatedly  called  in 
for  questioning  by  security  authorities  during  1991. 

The  right  to  strike  is  protected  in  the  Constitution  and  by 
statute.   The  ILO's  Committee  of  Experts  in  1991,  however, 
reiterated  earlier  observations  that  the  Labor  Code  gives  the 
President  excessive  power  to  submit  an  industrial  dispute  to 
compulsory  arbitration  in  order  to  bring  an  end  to  a  strike. 
The  Constitution  requires  a  protracted  series  of  negotiations 
and  a  6-day  notification  period  before  a  strike  may  be  held, 
effectively  making  legal  strikes  difficult  to  organize. 
Strikes  are  seldom  authorized  by  the  UGTCI;  however, 
independent  unions  freely  strike.   In  1991  university  teachers, 
secondary  school  teachers,  media  workers,  and  doctors  held 
strikes.   Although  the  Government  declared  the  strikes  illegal, 
it  met  many  of  the  strikers'  demands. 

The  UGTCI,  which  is  a  member  of  the  Organization  of  African 
Trade. Union  Unity,  formally  prohibits  its  individual  trade 
unions  from  forming  or  maintaining  affiliations  with  other 
international  professional  organizations  in  their  fields. 
Independent  unions  may  freely  affiliate  with  international 



bodies.   Dignite  is  a  member  of  the  World  Confederation  of 
Labor . 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  Labor  Code  grants  all  Ivorians  the  right  to  join  unions  and 
to  bargain  collectively.   Collective  bargaining  agreements  are 
in  effect  in  many  major  business  enterprises  and  sectors  of  the 
civil  service.   In  most  cases  in  which  wages  are  not 
established  in  negotiations  between  unions  and  employers, 
salaries  are  set  by  job  category  in  the  Ministry  of  Employment 
and  Civil  Service.   A  law  prohibiting  antiunion  discrimination 
is  enforced  by  labor  inspectors.   There  are  no  export 
processing  zones. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

There  have  been  no  reports  of  forced  labor,  which  is  prohibited 
by  law. 

d.  Minimum  Wage  for  Employment  of  Children 

In  most  instances,  the  legal  working  minimum  age  is  16,  and  the 
Ministry  of  Employment  and  Civil  Service  enforces  this 
provision  effectively  in  the  civil  service  and  in  large 
multinational  companies.   However,  children  often  work  on 
family  farms,  and  in  Abidjan  some  children  routinely  act  as 
street  traders  and  vendors  of  consumer  goods  in  the  informal 
sector.   There  are  also  reports  of  children  working  in  what 
could  be  described  as  sweatshop  conditions  in  small  workshops. 
Many  children  leave  the  formal  school  system  at  an  early  age; 
lower  grade  education  is  mandatory  but  far  from  universally 
enforced,  particularly  in  rural  areas. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Cote  d'lvoire  has  an  administratively  determined  monthly  wage 
rate  which  was  last  adjusted  in  January  1986.   A  slightly 
higher  rate  applies  to  construction  workers.   The  minimum  wage 
is  enforced  only  with  respect  to  salaried  workers  employed  by 
the  Government  or  registered  with  Social  Security.   Minimxim 
wages  vary  according  to  occupation,  with  the  lowest 
insufficient  to  provide  a  decent  standard  of  living  for  a 
worker  and  his  family.   The  majority  of  Ivorians  work  in 
agriculture  or  the  informal  sector  where  the  minimum  wage  does 
not  apply. 

Through  the  Ministry  of  Employment  and  Civil  Service,  the 
Government  enforces  a  comprehensive  Labor  Code  governing  the 
terms  and  conditions  of  service  for  wage  earners  and  salaried 
workers  and  providing  for  occupational  safety  and  health 
standards .   Those  employed  in  the  modern  sector  are  reasonably 
protected  against  unjust  compensation,  excessive  hours,  and 
capricious  discharge  from  employment.   The  standard  legal 
workweek  is  40  hours.   The  law  requires  overtime  payment  on  a 
graduated  scale  for  hours  in  excess  of  the  standard. 

In  the  large  informal  sector  of  the  economy,  involving  both 
urban  and  rural  workers,  the  Government's  occupational  health 
and  safety  regulations  are  enforced  erratically  at  best. 
Government  labor  inspectors  are  empowered  to  order  employers  to 
improve  substandard  conditions  and,  if  the  employer  fails  to 
comply,  fines  can  be  levied  by  a  labor  court. 



Djibouti  is  a  one-party  state  ruled  since  independence  in  1977 
by  President  Hassan  Gouled  Aptidon  and  his  People's  Assembly 
for  Progress  (RPP),  which  has  been  the  only  lawful  political 
party  since  1981.   Public  life  in  Djibouti  is  dominated  by  two 
ethnic  groups,  the  politically  predominant  Issa  (the  Somali- 
origin  tribe  of  the  President)  and  the  Afar  (who  are  also 
numerous  in  Ethiopia).   The  Afar  are  the  largest  single  tribe, 
but  they  are  outnumbered  by  the  combined  Somali  ethnic  elements 
in  Djibouti,  among  whom  the  Issa  are  the  largest  and  most 
influential  component.   The  Presidency  is  considered  reserved 
for  an  Issa,  and  the  Prime  Ministry  for  an  Afar.   The  various 
ethnic  groups  are  represented  proportionally  in  the  Cabinet  and 
political  bodies,  yet  the  result  is  a  dominant  role  for  the 
Issa  in  civil  service,  party,  and  armed  forces. 

Djibouti's  security  services  include  three  police  agencies: 
the  National  Security  Force  (FNS)  and  the  National  Police,  both 
under  the  Ministry  of  the  Interior,  and  the  Gendarmerie 
(military  police),  under  the  Ministry  of  Defense.   The  security 
services  and  the  Gendarmerie  in  particular  have  earned  a 
reputation  for  using  torture  and  other  abusive  treatment  of 
detainees  which  continued  undiminished  in  1991.   France  assures 
Djibouti's  external  security  and  maintains  a  force  of  some 
3,800  military  personnel  (ground,  air,  and  naval)  in  Djibouti. 

Djibouti's  arid  soil  is  unproductive,  and  there  is  no  industry; 
commerce  and  services  for  the  10,000  expatriate  (mostly  French) 
residents  and  operation  of  the  seaport  and  airport  account  for 
most  of  the  gross  domestic  product.   Although  the  State  is  the 
largest  employer,  persons  are  free  to  pursue  private  business 
interests  and  to  hold  personal  and  real  property. 

The  human  rights  climate  in  Djibouti  deteriorated  significantly 
during  1991.   In  addition  to  continuing  use  of  torture  and 
restrictions  on  freedom  of  speech,  press,  assembly,  and 
association,  an  RPP  congress  rejected  political  pluralism,  and 
the  Government  detained  a  number  of  persons  demonstrating 
peacefully  in  favor  of  multiparty  democracy.   In  January, 
following  an  armed  rebel  attack  in  the  north,  security  forces 
engaged  in  mass  arrests  of  Afar,  many  of  whom  were  tortured 
during  interrogations.   At  the  end  of  the  year,  ethnic  unrest 
in  the  north  deteriorated  into  a  civil  war  between  an  Afar 
rebel  coalition  called  the  Front  for  the  Restoration  of  Unity 
and  Democracy  (FRUD)  and  government  forces.   In  December 
secarity  forces  opened  fire  on  Afar  civilians  in  the  city  of 
Djibouti  who  refused  to  cooperate  with  government  searches  of 
their  homes,  killing  40  and  wounding  an  additional  50. 
Mistreatment  of  illegal  immigrants  and  refugees  by  gendarmes 
resulted  in  the  death  of  at  least  10  by  suffocation. 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  incidents  of  targeted  political  or  extrajudicial 
killing  during  1991.   However,  on  December  18,  security  forces 
opened  fire  on  Afars  who  refused  to  cooperate  with  government 
searches  of  their  homes  in  the  city  of  Djibouti,  resulting  in 
40  dead  and  50  wounded. 



Throughout  1991  the  security  forces  frequently  and  harshly 
mistreated  refugees  fleeing  conflict  in  Somalia  and  Ethiopia. 
In  one  egregious  incident  in  September,  following  an  indiscrim- 
inate roundup  of  Ethiopians,  Somalis,  and  Djiboutians,  the 
gendarmes  placed  58  detainees  in  two  tiny,  almost  airless 
prison  rooms.   The  inhumane  conditions  resulted  in  at  least 
10  persons — the  official  count — dying  through  suffocation.   The 
Government's  investigation  of  the  incident  resulted  in  minor 
disciplinary  actions,  including  the  dismissal  of  two  officers 
and  the  razing  of  the  prison  where  the  10  died. 

b.  Disappeareuice 

A  group  of  16  persons,  who  were  arrested  after  the  January 
attack  and  subsequently  released,  complained  to  the  judicial 
authorities  that  as  many  as  400  people,  mostly  Afars, 
disappeared  in  January,  without  any  official  explanation. 
Most  were  subsecjuently  released. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  law  requires  officials  to  "respect  the  moral  and  physical 
dignity  of  the  prisoner."  Nevertheless,  there  were  frequent 
reports  of  torture  in  1991,  including  the  documentation  of  many 
cases.   In  particular,  the  security  forces  use  harsh 
interrogation  methods,  including  the  use  of  severe  beatings  in 
handling  detainees,  especially  political/security  suspects  and 
undocumented  aliens.   The  practice  continues  both  because  of 
official  indifference  and  inadec[uate  training  of  the  security 
forces  concerning  citizens'  rights. 

Following  an  attack  in  January  by  Afar  rebels  on  the  military 
barracks  in  Tadjourah,  security  forces  repeatedly  raided  the 
Afar  community,  arresting  hundreds  and  torturing  many.   Most 
were  subsecjuently  released.   However,  a  letter  from  16  detainees 
implicated  22  officers  of  the  FNS  and  Gendarmerie,  accusing 
them  of  being  agents  of  torture.   They  said  the  methods  of 
torture  included  spinning  the  victim  until  he  becomes 
unconscious,  forced  ingestion  of  water,  sodomization  with  glass 
bottles,  electric  shocks  administered  to  the  genitals  of  men 
and  to  the  breasts  of  women,  suspension  by  feet  and  by  hands, 
and  "shark  fishing"  in  which  a  bound  victim  is  towed  behind  a 
powerboat  in  the  open  sea.   The  Government  did  not  undertake  an 
investigation  of  the  Tadjourah  incident,  and  no  one  was 
punished  for  the  many  extralegal  abuses. 

Prison  conditions  are  harsh,  especially  in  remote  desert 
regions,  where  political  detainees  and  prisoners  were 
frequently  sent  in  1991. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

By  law,  a  person  may  be  detained  no  more  than  48  hours  without 
an  examining  magistrate's  formal  charge.   In  practice,  this 
deadline  is  ignored  in  cases  of  political  interest.   An  accused 
has  the  right  to  counsel,  which  in  theory  is  provided  by  the 
State  if  the  accused  is  destitute.   An  accused  person  awaiting 
trial  may,  by  a  judge's  order,  be  released  on  bail  or  personal 
recognizance,  or  be  jailed  pending  the  verdict. 

Close  to  70  persons,  mainly  Afars,  were  detained  follov/ing  the 
January  attack.   Among  those  arrested  in  January  on  grounds  of 
state  security  were  Ali  Aref  Bourhan,  his  nephew  Aref  Moheimed 
Aref,  and  Mohamed  Daoud  Chehem,  formerly  director  of  finance. 



In  the  National  Assembly,  the  Prime  Minister's  chief  of  staff 
accused  the  entire  Aref  family  of  attempting  to  overthrow  the 
State,  participating  in  assassinations,  and  associating  with 
wrongdoers . 

Omar  Daoud,  leader  of  a  small  armed  Afar  opposition  group, 
remained  in  prison  awaiting  trial  at  year's  end.   He  was 
arrested  in  June  1990. 

Another  notable  case  of  arbitrary  detention  occurred  in  April 
when  Moh.amed  Moussa  "Tour-Tour"  was  arrested  after 
demonstrating  peacefully  in  favor  of  multiparty  democracy. 
Whereas  the  Aref  prisoners  are  of  the  minority  Afar  tribe, 
Tour-Tour  is  an  Issa  and  a  former  director  of  planning  for  the 
President.   The  Ministry  of  Justice  acknowledged  the  illegality 
of  his  imprisonment,  but  the  Ministry  of  Interior  did  not 
relent  until  September  8,  when  Tour-Tour  was  released  without 
explanation  for  his  5  months  of  detention. 

The  Government  does  not  use  political  exile  as  a  means  of 
punishment.   There  are,  however,  several  opposition  figures  in 
self-exile  in  France. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Djibouti's  legal  system  is  a  mixture  of  Djiboutian  legislation 
and  executive  decrees,  French  codified  law  adopted  at 
independence,  Shari'a  (Islamic  law),  and  traditions  of  the 
native  nomadic  peoples.   Crimes  in  urban  areas  are  dealt  with 
according  to  French-inspired  law  and  judicial  practice  in  the 
regular  courts.   Civil  actions  may  be  brought  in  the  regular 
courts,  or  in  traditional  court  according  to  tribal  customs. 
Shari'a  courts  handle  only  family  matters  (marriage,  divorce, 
inheritance,  etc.).   Decisions  of  all  three  court  systems  may 
be  appealed  to  the  Supreme  Court.   Proceedings  in  all  courts 
except  the  State  Security  Court  are  open  to  the  public.   The 
judiciary  is  especially  susceptible  to  government  influence  in 
cases  of  political  interest.   Many  of  the  magistrates  and 
judges  are  political  appointees  with  little  or  no  legal 

The  special  State  Security  Court  may  hear  in  closed  session 
cases  of  espionage,  treason,  and  acts  threatening  the  public 
order  or  the  "interest  of  the  Republic."   Extensive  delays  are 
typical  in  such  cases  due  to  their  political  sensitivity.   This 
Court  convened  on  December  22  to  hear  the  case  of  Ali  Aref  and 
other  Afars  accused  of  coup  plotting,  but  it  postponed  the 
trial  at  the  defense's  request — until  July  1992.   In  the 
meantime  the  defendants  remain  jailed. 

Opposition  figures  challenge  the  legitimacy  of  the  State 
Security  Court  and  the  legality  of  the  executive  order  which 
established  it,  claiming  the  Court  exists  primarily  to 
"adjudicate"  the  cases  of  political  prisoners  held  according  to 
the  wishes  of  the  President  and  his  security  apparatus.   The 
Government  has  responded  positively  to  domestic  and 
international  suggestions  for  judicial  reform.   The  State 
Security  Court  is  now  subject  to  the  appeal  process  before  the 
Supreme  Court,  and  while  the  December  session  was  not  open  to 
the  public,  journalists  and  family  members,  as  well  as 
diplomats,  were  allowed  to  attend. 



f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family*  Home,  or 

Security  forces  in  the  city  of  Djibouti  recommenced  periodic 
roundups  during  which  the  FNS  and  the  Gendarmerie 
indiscriminately  incarcerate  loiterers,  many  of  whom  are 
undocumented  refugees.   The  Gendarmerie  typically  refuses  to 
respond  to  family  inquiries  regarding  people  who  disappear 
during  these  roundups.   There  were  no  known  instances  of 
arbitrary  interference  with  correspondence. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

These  freedoms  are  seriously  restricted.   Those  who  express 
public  views  that  are  critical  of  or  perceived  as  threatening 
to  the  Government  face  prosecution  for  common  crimes  or 
detention  without  charge  for  short  periods.   During  1991, 
unprecedentedly  frank  discussions  took  place  within  the  party 
over  political  reform  (see  Section  3).  Despite  the  ban  on  free 
political  expression,  critics  of  the  regime  have  published 
clandestine  tracts  and  manifestos  th^t  circulate  widely  in 
Djibouti . 

Djibouti's  radio  and  television  stations  and  one  newspaper  (a 
French- language  weekly)  are  all  government  owned  and  operated. 
The  Government's  avowed  policy  is  to  coordinate  the 
dissemination  of  information  "in  the  interest  of  national 
development."  The  news  media  do  report  on  social  and  national 
development  problems  in  Djibouti,  such  as  the  acquired 
immunodeficiency  syndrome  (AIDS)  problem  and  female 
circumcision,  but  the  Government  itself  and  its  policies  are 
not  criticized.   The  media  avoid  domestic  politics  and  ethnic 
strife  in  neighboring  Somalia  and  Ethiopia,  although  the 
collapse  of  the  Mengistu  regime  in  Ethiopia  and  the  Siad  Barre 
regime  in  Somalia  received  significant  coverage. 

Foreign  journalists  (e.g.,  British  Broadcasting  Corporation 
Somali  Service)  or  members  of  international  organizations, 
including  from  the  staff  of  the  United  Nations  High 
Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR) ,  in  Djibouti  were  expelled 
during  1991  for  discussing  ethnic  tensions.   Copies  of  one 
issue  of  a  Paris  daily  newspaper  were  temporarily  held  off 
newsstands  in  July  because  of  an  article  criticizing  Djibouti's 
treatment  of  Ethiopian  escapees  in  May  and  June.   Issues  of  the 
monthly  Tribune  of  the  Opposition,  and  those  of  the  Paris 
weekly,  the  Indian  Ocean  Newsletter,  are  also  banned.   People 
found  in  possession  of  these  periodicals  may  be  arrested. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  Government  effectively  bans  political  protest  by  selective 
enforcement  of  piiblic  assembly  permit  laws.   Permits  for 
political  meetings  are  not  issued  outside  party  auspices. 

Prodemocracy  demonstrations  in  April  followed  a  March  RPP 
decision  not  to  accept  political  pluralism.   The  leader  of  the 
first  demonstration,  Mohamed  Moussa  Tour-Tour,  was  arrested  and 
detained  in  the  remote  military  outpost  of  Moulehoule  where  he 
was  confined  for  several  months  until  released  following  a 
hunger  strike.   Four  other  prodemocracy  demonstrators  were 
arrested  on  April  23  for  their  political  activities  (namely, 
demanding  Tour-Tour's  release);  they  were  released  2  weeks 
later . 



c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Djibouti  respects  freedom  of  religion  for  all  faiths. 
Virtually  the  entire  population  is  Sunni  Muslim,  but  the 
Government  imposes  no  sanctions  on  those  who  choose  to  ignore 
Islamic  teachings  on  such  matters  as  diet,  alcohol  consumption, 
and  religious  fasting. 

The  expatriate  community  supports  Roman  Catholic,  French 
Protestant,  Greek  Orthodox,  and  Ethiopian  Orthodox  churches. 
Less  than  1  percent  of  the  native  population  belongs  to  these 
Christian  congregations.   Foreign  clergy  and  missionaries  may 
perform  charitable  works,  but  proselytizing  is  a  highly 
sensitive  issue  and,  while  not  illegal,  is  discouraged. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Djiboiitians  travel  freely  within  Djibouti  and  may  live  and  work 
where  they  choose.   Djiboutians  leave  for,  and  return  from, 
foreign  countries  without  restriction  or  interference,  except 
for  travel  to  Israel  or  South  Africa.   The  passports  of  members 
of  the  Aref  family  were  withheld  in  January  prior  to  their 
detainment . 

Djibouti  cooperates  with  the  UNHCR  to  assist  the  approximately 
1,500  registered  Ethiopian  refugees  in  the  country,  many  of 
whom  returned  to  Ethiopia  in  August.   Following  the  collapse  of 
the  Mengistu  regime  in  neighboring  Ethiopia,  Djibouti  faced  a 
massive  influx  of  fleeing  Ethiopian  army  personnel  and  their 
families.   With  the  assistance  of  the  French  military,  most  of 
these  soldiers  were  stopped  or  were  forced  back  across  the 
border.   Many  refugees  were  returned  to  Ethiopia  without  UNHCR 
supervision  to  certify  that  their  repatriation  was  voluntary. 
Those  that  refused  to  return  were  not  accorded  refugee  status 
but  received  better  treatment  than  Somali  refugees. 

As  a  matter  of  policy  the  Government  does  not  recognize  as 
refugees  the  approximately  94,000  Somali  nationals  who  have 
fled  the  Somali  civil  war.   The  Government  has  an  informal 
agreement  with  UNHCR  that  these  refugees  will  not  be  forcibly 
repatriated  if  they  do  not  "cause  trouble,"  but  UNHCR  in  fact 
has  limited  ability  to  extend  protection  to  these  persons,  and 
the  Government's  policy  has  resulted  in  inadequate  water 
supplies  and  medical  care  as  well  as  malnutrition  for  the 
Somalis . 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

All  legal  political  activity  is  conducted  within  Djibouti's 
single  party,  the  People's  Assembly  for  Progress  (RPP) .   As  in 
most  Djiboutian  institutions,  the  Issa  have  a  dominant  role  in 
the  RPP,  which  has  had  a  monopoly  of  power  since  the  rival 
Djiboutian  People's  Movement  (MPD)  was  outlawed  in  1981.   The 
party  chooses  the  candidates  for  the  Presidency  and  the 
65-member  National  Assembly,  a  legislative  body  with  limited 
power.   Presidential  elections  are  held  every  7  years,  and 
elections  for  the  National  Assembly  every  5  years.   Citizens 
are  encouraged  to  vote,  but  affirmative  and  negative  ballots 
must  be  cast  in  different  boxes,  making  it  obvious  who  votes 
against  the  party. 

In  early  1991,  the  RPP  held  a  congress  which  was  marked  by  some 
of  the  most  open  political  debate  in  years.   Several 



participants  called  for  the  end  of  the  single  party  system  and 
a  move  to  multipartyism.   The  RPP  rejected  this  proposal  but 
has  now  accepted  the  principle  of  political  pluralism  for  the 
elections  to  take  place  in  May  1992.   The  impetus  for  change 
has  been  the  armed  insurgency  led  by  the  FRUD  coalition.   The 
Government  has  made  -its  democratization  pledge  contingent  on 
the  cessation  of  hostilities. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government  has  not  responded  to  repeated  attempts  by  two 
independent  groups  of  Djiboutians  to  formally  register  a 
"Djiboutian  League  for  Hviman  Rights."  A  third  group  has 
complied  with  all  the  laws  concerning  Djiboutian  associations 
but  has  thus  far  failed  to  secure  official  sanction.   The 
International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross  and  Amnesty 
International  have  had  limited  access  to  visit  some,  but  not 
all,  of  Djibouti's  political  prisoners.   The  Government  has 
also  permitted  inspection  of  prison  facilities  by  foreign 
diplomats.   However,  three  UNHCR  workers  were  expelled  from 
Djibouti,  one  of  whom  had  been  incarcerated  for  7  hours. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  Issa  control  the  party,  the  civil  service,  and  the  military 
as  a  result  of  the  President's  policy  of  assigning  positions  of 
authority  to  members  of  his  tribal  grouping  and  in  particular 
his  subclan,  the  Mammasan.   Although  other  government  positions 
are  apportioned  according  to  relative  tribal  numbers,  the 
arrangement  is  suspect  as  no  census  figures  have  ever  been 
released.   Perc[uisites  and  corruption  have  created  a  class  of 
wealthy  bureaucrats  who  live  far  beyond  the  means  of  the 
ordinary  Djiboutian. 

Women  in  Djibouti  legally  possess  full  civil  rights  but 
traditionally  play  a  secondary  role  in  public  life.   Women  are 
active  in  small  trade,  as  well  as  in  the  clerical  and 
secretarial  fields.   There  are  only  a  few  women  in  the 
professions  (civil  service,  judiciary,  teaching,  and  medicine) 
and  security  services. 

According  to  medical  personnel,  violence  against  women — 
including  rape  and  wife  beating — occur.   While  data  are 
limited,  such  violence  is  still  considered  a  relatively 
infrequent  occurrence.   Neither  the  Government  nor  the 
party-affiliated  Djiboutian  National  Women's  Union  (UNFD)  has 
addressed  the  issue.   Most  domestic  and  community  violence  is 
considered  a  family  or  clan  matter,  dealt  with  accordingly,  and 
therefore  rarely  brought  to  the  attention  of  authorities.   The 
UNFD  began  a  government-supported  educational  campaign  against 
female  circumcision  in  1988,  but  the  campaign  appears  to  have 
had  marginal  impact,  particularly  in  the  northern  districts, 
where  nomadic  traditions  of  genital  mutilation  of  young  girls 
(e.g.,  clitoral  excision  and  the  most  dangerous  form, 
inf ibulation)  are  widely  practiced.   Recent  judicial  reforms 
have  stipulated  that  anyone  found  responsible  for  circumcision 
of  young  girls  that  results  in  genital  mutilation  could  face 
5  years  in  prison  and  a  $6,000  fine.   By  implication,  circum- 
cisions that  are  well  performed  are  legal. 


Section  6  Workers  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  are  free  to  join  or  not  join  unions  as  they  choose,  but 
less  than  20  percent  of  persons  in  the  wage  economy  are  union 
members.   Labor  unions  thus  play  a  minimal  role  in  Djibouti. 
Many  unions  represent  employees  of  only  a  single  private  or 
state-owned  enterprise.   The  Government  exerts  control  over 
individual  unions  through  the  single,  state- 
organized  labor  central,  the  General  Union  of  Djiboutian 
Workers  (UGTD) .   Although  there  is  no  legal  bar  to  other  labor 
centrals,  none  exist,  and  the  UGTD  has  no  affiliations  beyond 
its  membership  in  the  continentwide  official  trade  union  body, 
the  Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity.   Unions  are  free 
to  maintain  relations  and  exchange  programs  with  unions  and 
labor  organizations  in  other  countries. 

Workers  are  free  to  strike,  but  there  were  no  strikes  in  1991. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Although  the  law  recognizes  labor's  right  to  organize  and 
bargain  collectively,  in  practice,  collective  bargaining 
virtually  does  not  exist.   Relations  between  employers  and 
workers  are  informal  and  paternalistic.   Wages  are  in  practice 
established  unilaterally  by  employers  on  the  basis  of  Ministry 
of  Labor  guidelines.   When  disputes  about  wages  or  health  and 
safety  issues  arise,  the  Ministry  of  Labor  encourages  direct, 
ad  hoc  resolution  by  labor  representatives  and  employers. 
Either  workers  or  employers  may  initiate  a  formal 
administrative  hearing  mediated  by  the  labor  inspection  service 
of  the  Ministry  of  Labor. 

There  are  no  export  processing  zones. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

By  law  there  is  neither  forced  nor  compulsory  labor  in 
Djibouti,  and  there  are  no  reports  that  it  is  practiced. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  legal  minimum  age  of  14  years  is  generally  respected; 
however,  the  paucity  of  inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of  Labor 
makes  it  unlikely  that  investigations  are  ever  carried  out, 
according  to  union  sources.   Children  may  and  do  work  in 
family-owned  businesses  such  as  restaurants  and  small  shops, 
including  at  night.   Children  are  not  employed  under  hazardous 
conditions . 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimum  wage  rates  are  specified  by  government  regulations 
according  to  occupational  categories  and  are  enforced  by  the 
Ministry  of  Labor.   Last  increased  in  1980,  minimum  wages  cover 
a  broad  range  of  jobs.   Many  workers  also  receive  housing  or 
housing  allowances  and  transportation  and  food  allowances,  in 
addition  to  mandatory  seniority  bonuses.   In  reality,  wages  are 
lower  than  the  official  minimum.   Families  supplement  their 
incomes  with  second  jobs  or  assistance  from  relatives. 

By  law  the  maximum  workweek  is  40  hours,  often  spread  over 
6  days.   Overtime  pay  regulations  are  in  effect.   Workers  are 



guaranteed  daily  and  weekly  rest  periods  and  paid  annual 
vacations.   The  Ministry  of  Labor  is  responsible  for 
occupational  health  and  safety  standards,  wages,  and  work 
hours.   Enforcement  of  these  standards,  however,  is 
ineffective.   Workers  face  hazardous  working  conditions, 
particularly  in  the  port  where  they  are  exposed  to  toxic 
chemicals  and  are  not  properly  clothed  to  handle  these 
materials.   Workers  in  the  electric  company  face  equal  hazards 
and  often  work  in  temperatures  exceeding  60  degrees  Celsius. 
Workers  do  not  protest,  as  they  fear  being  replaced  by  others 
willing  to  accept  the  risks. 



Equatorial  Guinea  is  ruled  by  President  Obiang  Nguema  Mbasogo 
who,  "in  1979,  as  Vice  Ministep  of  Defense,  overthrew  Francisco 
Macias,  the  ruthless  dictator,  of  the  country  from  its 
independence  in  1968.   In  1982  a  constitution  was  promulgated, 
and  Obioing  officially  declared  the  Government  to  be  civilian. 
In  1986  he  established  Equatorial  Guinea's  sole  legal  political 
party,  the  Democratic  Party  of  Equatorial  Guinea  (DPEG) .   In 
1989  Obiang  staged  the  first  presidential  election  since  1968; 
as  the  only  candidate,  he  was  elected  to  a  7-year  term.   In  a 
November  1991  referendum,  Obiang  submitted  to  the  electorate  a 
new  Constitution  which  was  not  made  readily  available  to  the 
public  but  was  approved  by  98.38  percent  of  those  voting, 
according  to  the  Government.   While  providing  for  a  multiparty 
system,  the  new  Constitution,  which  became  law  in  December,  was 
on  balance  probably  a  step  backwards  for  individual  liberties 
because  it  entrenched  presidential  powers  and  specifically 
granted  Obiang  lifetime  immunity  from  any  legal  proceeding. 

As  the  country's  most  senior  military  officer.  Brigadier 
General  Obiang  dominates  both  the  military  and  civilian 
branches  of  the  State,  personally  holding  six  cabinet 
portfolios,  including  Defense,  Foreign  Affairs,  and  Mines  and 
Petroleum.   Obiang' s  Esangui  clan  and  fellow  Fang  from  the 
Mongomo  area  hold  an  estimated  50  of  the  70  most  senior 
official  positions  in  the  country. 

Civilian  and  military  security  branches  are  responsible  for 
public  order,  augmented  by  a  presidential  guard  of  400  to  600 
men  provided  by  Morocco.   These  forces  historically  have 
committed  the  majority  of  human  rights  abuses,  reportedly  often 
at  the  behest  of  senior  government  officials,  who  commonly  have 
been  present  at  torture  and  interrogation  sessions. 

Equatorial  Guineans  live  mainly  by  subsistence  agriculture, 
hunting,  and  fishing.   Per  capita  annual  income  is 
approximately  $457.   The  small  wage  economy,  based  on  cocoa, 
lumber,  and  coffee,  has  not  recovered  from  the  devastation 
caused  by  the  death  or  exodus  of  thousands  of  trained  and 
educated  citizens  during  the  Macias  era,  although  a  very  small 
middle  class  has  emerged  in  recent  years.   The  country  remains 
heavily  dependent  on  foreign  aid. 

Almost  the  entire  spectrxom  of  human  rights  continued  to  be 
tightly  restricted.   Despite  President  Obiang' s  monopoly  on 
power,  there  were  growing  public  pressures  to  institute  a 
multiparty  political  system.   Most  of  those  actively  involved 
in  opposition  activity  have  been  from  the  professional  classes 
of  all  ethnic  groups,  majority  Fang  from  outside  of  the  Mongomo 
area  as  well  as  Bubi,  Ndowe,  Combe,  Annobonese,  and  other 
minorities.   The  Government  responded  both  by  arresting, 
detaining,  and  torturing  its  opponents,  and,  at  a  special  DPEG 
congress  in  August,  by  promising  to  institute  carefully 
controlled  political  reform  from  the  top.   By  the  end  of  the 
year,  through  the  new  Constitution,  Obiang  seemed  ready  to 
permit  limited  political  opposition  as  long  as  it  did  not 
present  a  real  challenge  to  his  power.   As  1991  ended,  however, 
security  forces  had  not  relaxed  their  harassment  of  dissidents, 
arresting  at  least  24  in  Bata  at  the  end  of  November  and 
another  3  late  in  December,  and  no  opposition  party  had  been 




Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

No  political  killings  were  reported  in  1991.  One  person 
accused  of  witchcraft  was  tortured  and  beaten  to  death  by 
police  (see  Section  i.e.). 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  known  disappearances. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment. 

Police  and  other  security  forces  continued  routinely  to 
administer  torture  and  other  cruel  forms  of  mistreatment  to 
prisoners.   Authorities  employed  a  wide  variety  of  techniques, 
including  severe  beatings  with  sticks  and  vrtiips,  electric 
shocks,  hanging  victims  by  their  feet  or  arms,  and  applying  hot 
pepper  sauce  to  sensitive  areas  of  the  anatomy.   Physical  as 
well  as  psychological  torture  was  used  routinely  as  an  aid  in 
interrogation  and  to  intimidate  and  punish  prisoners. 

In  July  Manuel  Nguema,  Caspar o  Asama,  and  Diosdado  Nsue  Abaga 
were  tortured  for  causing  death  by  witchcraft.   Nguema, 
Equatorial  Guinea's  Consul  at  Calabar,  had  been  home  on  leave 
when  his  niece  called  out  his  name  in  her  dying  delirium.   All 
three  men  were  accused,  detained,  and  tortured.  Nsue,  \rtio  was 
detained  and  tortured  a  second  time,  died  as  a  result.   Three 
women  who  interceded  on  Nsue  s  behalf  were  stripped  by  police 
and  brutally  mistreated.   Subsequently,  four  policemen  were 
convicted  and  sentenced  to  8  to  10  years  in  prison  for  their 
involvement  in  Nsue's  death.   A  traditional  healer  also 
convicted  in  the  case  was  given  a  light  sentence  and  released 
after  a  few  days,  presumably  because  she  was  the  wife  and 
sister  of  senior  government  officials.   The  police  officer  who 
directed  the  beating  was  not  punished. 

In  August  the  six  men  still  imprisoned  for  participation  in  an 
alleged  1988  coup  plot  were  beaten  with  whips  at  Bata  prison 
and  sxibsequently  denied  medical  attention. 

Prison  conditions  continued  to  be  extremely  harsh.   Basic 
amenities  were  rarely  provided,  and  prisoners'  essential  needs 
were  largely  supplied  by  their  families  or  friends.   The 
Government  is  reported  to  provide  only  a  single  loaf  of  bread 
per  prisoner  per  day. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Despite  constitutional  provisions,  there  was  little  enforcement 
of  the  rights  of  persons  in  detention  to  be  charged  or  released 
within  a  reasonable  period  of  time,  to  have  access  to  a  lawyer, 
or  to  be  released  on  bail.   Arbitrary  arrests  by  security 
forces  or  police  are  cornnonplace,  often  on  spurious  charges,  in 
order  to  extort  money  or  to  gain  personal  revenge.   Many 
detainees  are  held  incommunicado,  although  the  right  to  habeas 
corpus  and  application  for  pretrial  release  are  provided  for  in 
the  Constitution.   The  number  of  detainees — political  as  well 
as  criminal — held  at  the  end  of  1991  was  not  known. 



The  Goverrunent  uses  arbitrary  arrest,  interrogation,  torture, 
and  banishment  to  remote  villages  to  intimidate  dissidents  and 
keep  a  viable  opposition  from  forming.   In  May  Alfonso  Nsue 
Mokuy,  chief  of  special  programming  at  Equatorial  Guinea  Radio 
and  Television;  £usebio  Abaga  Ondo  Maye,  former  ambassador  to 
the  Soviet  Union;  and  three  other  prominent  officials  accused 
of  supporting  political  pluralism  were  detained,  interrogated 
at  security  headquarters  in  Malabo,  and  banished  to  their  home 
villages.   The  banishment  was  rescinded  after  a  short  time.   In 
a  similar  case,  Ricardo  Nvu  Mba  was  banished  in  February  to  his 
home  village  where  he  remained  at  year's  end. 

In  August,  less  than  2  weeks  before  a  scheduled  visit  to 
Equatorial  Guinea  by  Spanish  President  Felipe  Gonzalez,  three 
persons,  including  a  journalist,  were  detained  for  several  days 
and  fined  after  being  interviewed  by  a  visiting  Spanish 
journalist . 

Sever?il  persons  living  in  Luba  on  Bioko  Island,  including  the 
Luba  DPEG  chief,  the  municipal  secretary,  and  the  director  of 
the  public  school,  were  accused  of  causing  a  death  through 
witchcraft,  detained  for  more  than  a  month,  and  tortured.   They 
were  eventually  released  without  charge. 

Jesus  Ela  Abeme,  former  ambassador  to  France,  was  detained  on 
suspicion  of  distributing  antigovernment  literature,  tortured, 
held  at  security  headquarters  in  Malabo  for  several  weeks,  and 
then  released  without  being  formally  charged. 

The  Government  continues  to  maintain  that  it  encourages  exiles 
to  return  to  Equatorial  Guinea,  assuring  them  that  they  will 
not  be  persecuted.   At  the  same  time,  however,  the  Government 
makes  it  clear  that  political  activity  outside  the  sole  legal 
party  will  not  be  tolerated.   In  November,  24  politically 
related  exiles  from  Libreville  were  arrested  on  their  return 
and  held  without  charge  for  several  weeks.   Although  they 
reportedly  had  returned  to  participate  in  the  multiparty  system 
announced  in  the  new  Constitution,  most  were  eventually  sent  to 
their  home  villages  and  warned  to  remain  there  and  not  to 
become  further  involved  in  politics.   There  were  credible 
reports  during  December  of  continued  harassment  of  people  who 
wished  to  participate  in  political  groupings  under  the  new 
Constitution.   Harassment  took  the  form  of  surveillance,  brief 
detentions,  summary  dismissals  from  government  employment,  and 
evictions  from  government-owned  housing. 

In  July  the  Secretary  General  of  the  Reformed  Church  of 
Equatorial  Guinea,  Jaime  Sipoto,  led  a  delegation  to  Geneva  to 
attend  a  conference  of  Equatorial  Guinean  exiles  and  human 
rights  and  religious  organizations.   Upon  returning  to 
Equatorial  Guinea,  Sipoto  presented  to  President  Obiang  a 
proposal  for  a  committee  of  conference  participants  to  visit 
Equatorial  Guinea  to  arrange  for  the  return  and  reintegration 
of  the  exiles.   The  proposal  also  included  a  plan  for 
democratic  reform  in  Equatorial  Guinea. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

There  is  a  formal  court  structure,  with  the  Supreme  Court  at 
the  apex,  and  also  military  and  customary  (traditional)  court 
systems.   Traditional  laws  and  customs  are  honored  in  the 
formal  court  system  when  not  in  conflict  with  national  law. 
The  tribunal  provided  for  in  the  Constitution  to  decide 
constitutional  issues  has  never  been  established;  in  the 
meantime,  the  Council  of  State — appointed  by  the  President  and 



responsible  to  him — is  empowered  to  rule  on  constitutional 
questions.   Under  the  Constitution,  military  tribunals  hear  all 
capital  cases. 

There  is  no  separation  between  the  executive  and  the  judiciary, 
and  Supreme  Court  justices  serve  at  the  pleasure  of  the 
President.   The  executive  branch  acts  with  little  respect  or 
understanding  for  judicial  independence.   The  nation's  mixture 
of  traditional  law,  military  law,  and  Spanish  rules  and 
procedures  combines  to  produce  an  inconsistent  system  of 
justice.   Judges  and  court  officials  are  poorly  trained.   There 
is  little  concept  of  due  process,  and  appellate  proceedings  are 
virtually  nonexistent.   Defendants  unable  to  afford  legal 
counsel  stand  little  chance  of  acquittal.   The  fact  that  the 
few  lawyers  (approximately  20)  in  the  country  depend  on  their 
connections  to  the  Government  for  a  livelihood  raises  questions 
about  the  impartiality  of  the  defense  their  clients  might 

The  Government  appears  to  use  charges  of  "kong"  (traditional 
witchcraft  which  is  believed  can  cause  injury  or  death)  to  jail 
those  suspected  of  engaging  in  proscribed  political  activity  as 
well  as  to  gain  personal  revenge.   Since  the  statutes  of 
Equatorial  Guinea  do  not  refer  to  witchcraft,  such  cases  are 
reportedly  handled  outside  the  normal  court  system  by  the 
Director  General  of  National  Security,  Armengol  Ondo  Nguema 
(President  Obiang's  brother),  and  Ricardo  Mangue,  Chief  of  the 
Appellate  Court.   In  February  1990,  the  mayor  of  Ebebiyin  and 
five  others  were  ordered  imprisoned  for  periods  of  4  to  23 
years.   Although  no  public  trial  was  held,  the  men  are  believed 
to  have  been  accused  of  causing  the  death  by  "kong"  of  a 
brother  of  the  mayor,  who  was  killed  in  a  road  accident.   The 
real  reason  for  their  arrest  and  incarceration  is  reliably 
reported  to  be  that  they  were  attempting  to  form  an  opposition 
political  party.   Apparently  all  six  were  released  from  prison 
late  in  1991. 

The  number  of  political  and  security  prisoners  held  at  the  end 
of  1991  was  not  known.   Two  of  the  six  men  held  in  connection 
with  the  1988  coup  plot  were  freed  from  prison  as  part  of  a 
limited  prisoner  release  ordered  by  President  Obiang.   The  six 
had  been  convicted  in  unfair  trials.   Venancio  Miko,  imprisoned 
since  1983  on  charges  of  plotting  a  coup,  was  released  at  about 
the  same  time. 

In  1990  Spain  and  the  United  Nations  Human  Rights  Commission 
(UNHRC)  jointly  financed  a  visit  to  Equatorial  Guinea  by  two 
senior  Spanish  judges  to  review  the  court  system  and  civil 
registry  and  to  make  recommendations  for  improving  them.   The 
judges  presented  a  report  to  the  UNHRC  in  Geneva  and  to  the 
Governments  of  Spain  and  Equatorial  Guinea.   The  report 
recommended  measures  to  improve  Equatorial  Guinea's  judicial 
system  and  respect  for  human  rights.   Spain  also  agreed  to 
train  judges  who  would  then  serve  on  the  Supreme  Court.   There 
has  been  no  followup  to  the  report  on  the  part  of  the 
Government  of  Equatorial  Guinea,  although  the  establishment  of 
an  official  human  rights  commission  may  have  been  one  outcome 
of  their  visit  (see  Section  4) . 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  With  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

The  Government  sometimes  places  under  surveillance  persons  it 
deems  suspicious.  While  many  believe  telephone  conversations 
are  routinely  monitored,  there  seems  to  be  no  deliberate 



interference  with  correspondence.   Although  required  by  the 
Constitution,  search  warrants  are  not  normally  used. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Public  criticism  of  the  Government  is  not  tolerated.   Several 
employees  of  the  government  radio  and  television  service  were 
detained  for  talking  to  a  foreign  journalist.   In  another  case, 
a  journalist  was  threatened  with  death  by  a  senior  government 
press  official  for  filing  a  report  which  the  official  claimed 
misrepresented  President  Obiang's  views.   The  Government  owns  a 
small  occasional  newspaper  and  the  only  television  and  radio 
stations.   Domestic  news  is  government  produced  and  contains  no 
criticism  of  the  Government.   International  news  items  are 
generally  supplied  by  the  Spanish  agency  EFE  and  other  sources. 
Distribution  of  foreign  publications  critical  of  the  Government 
is  forbidden.   Several  persons  were  arrested  or  restricted  to 
their  home  villages  for  possession  of  the  Spanish  weekly 
newsmagazine  Cambio  16  containing  articles  critical  of  the 
Government  of  Equatorial  Guinea. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Despite  constitutional  provisions  guaranteeing  these  freedoms, 
the  Government  continues  to  ban  opposition  political 
organizations  and  assemblies.   Private  nonpolitical  groups, 
such  as  professional  organizations,  churches,  and  sports 
groups,  require  government  approval  to  hold  meetings. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

With  one  exception,  freedom  of  religion  is  generally 
respected.   Jehovah's  witnesses,  originally  banned  from  the 
country  in  1985  and  harassed  in  1986  and  1987,  are  still 
prohibited  from  practicing  their  religion.   Christianity, 
mainly  Roman  Catholicism,  is  the  predominant  religion,  often 
interspersed  with  traditional  religions.   The  Islamic  and 
Baha ' i  faiths  are  also  practiced  openly.   In  general,  active 
proselytizing  by  Protestant  denominations  is  discouraged,  but 
conversions  are  permitted.   Government  permission  must  be 
obtained  to  open  new  places  of  worship.   Foreign  clergy  and 
missionaries  continue  to  have  an  active  role  in  educational 
development.   All  denominations  are  allowed  to  participate  in 
charitable  as  well  as  religious  activities. 

A  religious  law  promulgated  in  June  forbade  ministers  of 
religion  to  criticize  the  Government  or  state  organizations  in 
their  sermons.   The  new  law  seemed  to  be  aimed  at  the  Roman 
Catholic  Church,  since  some  of  its  clergy,  including  the  late 
Archbishop  of  Malabo  Raphael  Nze  Abuy,  who  died  in  July,  had 
publicly  criticized  the  Government  and  called  for  greater 
openness  in  the  country  and  respect  for  human  rights. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Citizens  and  residents  of  Equatorial  Guinea  generally  may 
travel  freely  within  the  country,  but  permits  are  needed  to 
visit  Mount  Basile,  just  south  of  Malabo,  where  a 
communications  center  is  situated,  and  Moka  in  the  southern 
part  of  Bioko  Island.   Police,  who  are  poorly  paid  and  trained, 
often  extort  small  payments  for  passage  through  traffic 
checkpoints  on  major  roads.   At  times  police  become  abusive  and 



refused  without  valid  reason  to  permit  travelers  to  pass 
checkpoints.   There  are  restrictions  on  travel  abroad, 
including  lengthy  delays  in  obtaining  passports.   Both  citizens 
and  residents  of  Equatorial  Guinea  must  obtain  exit  permits, 
issued  by  the  security  police,  to  leave  the  country.   Many 
Equato-Guineans  leave  the  country  without  formal  documentation 
for  both  economic  and  political  reasons  and  reside  abroad, 
mostly  in  Gabon,  Cameroon,  Spain,  and  France. 

The  Government  publicly  encourages  Equato-Guineans  abroad  to 
return,  but  in  1991  few  did  so.   Severe  Moto,  exiled  leader  of 
the  Progressive  Party,  was  denied  the  right  to  return  to  his 
native  country  when  the  Ecjuatorial  Guinean  Embassy  in  Madrid 
refused  to  renew  his  passport.  Moto  was  also  belittled  by  name 
in  the  government-run  press. 

There  are  a  number  of  workers  from  other  African  countries  in 
Equatorial  Guinea.   These  workers  sometimes  must  resort  to 
bribery  to  obtain  legal  registration  but  generally  are  free  to 
work  and  travel  within  the  country. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

The  people  of  Equatorial  Guinea  do  not  have  the  right  to  change 
their  government  by  democratic  means.   President  Obiang's 
party,  DPEG,  is  the  only  political  party  allowed  to  function  as 
of  the  end  of  1991.   Since  its  founding  in  1986,  only  party 
members  have  been  permitted  to  be  candidates  in  local  as  well 
as  national  elections.   The  legislature  is  subordinate  to  the 
executive  with  no  independent  authority;  all  governors  are 
appointed  and  removed  by  the  President;  all  locally  elected 
officials  serve  at  the  pleasure  of  the  President  as  well. 

Nevertheless,  there  was  growing  public  pressure  throughout  the 
year,  especially  from  the  small  professional  class,  to  adopt  a 
multiparty  political  system.   Obiang  called  a  national 
referendum  on  November  17  which  approved  a  new  Constitution — 
reportedly  by  98.38  percent  of  those  voting.   The  Constitution 
permits  a  multiparty  system  and  separates  the  office  of  the 
Chief  of  State,  who  would  remain  the  President,  from  that  of 
the  Head  of  Government,  which  would  be  a  revamped  office  of 
Prime  Minister.   The  Constitution  entrenched  presidential  power 
and  granted  Obiang  lifelong  legal  immunity  for  his  actions 
before,  during,  and  after  his  term  of  office.   The  text  of  the 
Constitution  was  not  made  public  until  after  the  referendum. 
At  the  end  of  the  year,  security  forces  continued  to  harass 
political  dissidents  as  well  as  families  of  exiles  involved  in 
politics  abroad. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

In  September  1990,  citing  an  Amnesty  International  (AI)  report 
on  torture  in  Equatorial  Guinea,  President  Obiang  announced 
formation  of  a  human  rights  commission.   He  did  not  name  the 
members  of  the  commission  until  February  1991,  and  the 
commission  did  not  hold  its  first  meeting  until  September. 
Seven  of  14  members  are  also  members  of  the  House  of  People's 
Representatives  (two  of  these  are  also  ministers).   At  year's 
end  it  appeared  the  commission  would  have  largely  a  ceremonial 
role.   At  the  invitation  of  President  Obiang,  the  United 
Nations  Human  Rights  Commission  specialist,  Volio  Jimenez, 
madean  extensive  trip  in  November  during  which  he  was  given 
access  to  prisons.   His  report  is  expected  to  be  made  public  in 



Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Although  the  law  calls  for  equal  treatment  for  all  citizens, 
ethnic  groups  are  not  granted  the  same  rights  and  privileges. 
The  Fang  comprise  75  percent  of  the  population,  the  Bubi  15 
percent,  and  other  groups  the  remainder.   A  small  number  of 
Fang  clans,  especially  those  of  the  President  and  relatives  by 
marriage,  dominate  all  aspects  of  government,  the  military,  and 
social  life.   Discrimination  against  the  Bubi  and  Fernandino  of 
Bioko  Island,  as  well  as  the  Ndowe  and  associated  coastal 
groups  from  the  continent,  is  consistent,  whether  in  the 
granting  of  political  office  or  the  approval  of  academic 
scholarships.   There  are,  however,  members  of  minority  groups 
in  positions  of  prominence  but  with  little  real  authority, 
e.g.,  a  Bubi  has  held  the  office  of  Prime  Minister  since  1982, 
and  the  President  of  the  House  of  People's  Representatives  is  a 
member  of  the  Benga  ethnic  group  from  the  island  of  Corisco. 

Women  are  confined  by  custom  to  traditional  roles,  especially 
in  agriculture.   Polygamy,  which  is  widespread,  contributes  to 
the  secondary  status  given  to  women  in  society.   According  to 
the  Government,  boys  and  girls,  once  they  gain  admission,  are 
equally  likely  to  complete  secondary  school.   However, 
according  to  recent  U.N.  data,  females  in  Equatorial  Guinea 
receive  only  one-fifth  as  much  schooling  as  males.   The 
Constitution  and  laws  guarantee  equal  rights  for  women,  and 
there  is  no  legal  discrimination  in  employment,  though  women 
are  largely  excluded  from  some  fields,  such  as  the  military,  by 
tradition.   The  Ministry  for  the  Promotion  of  Women  focuses  on 
agriculture,  handicrafts,  and  professional  training.   It  is 
interested  in  developing  women's  agricultural  cooperatives  and 
enrolling  more  women  in  the  school  of  professional  training  in 

According  to  medical  professionals,  violence  against  women, 
particularly  wife  beating,  is  common.   Child  abuse  is 
uncommon.   The  Government  has  not  addressed  violence  as  an 
issue  and  looks  to  the  Ministry  for  the  Promotion  of  Women  to 
advance  the  interests  of  women  in  Equatorial  Guinean  society. 
According  to  the  medical  community,  female  circumcision  is  not 
practiced  in  Equatorial  Guinea. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  do  not  have  the  right  of  free  association.   In  the 
small  wage  economy,  no  labor  organizations  exist,  although 
there  are  a  few  cooperatives  with  limited  power.   Strikes  are 
prohibited  by  law. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

There  is  no  legislation  regarding  these  rights  or  addressing 
antiunion  discrimination  and  no  evidence  of  collective 
bargaining  by  any  group.   Wages  are  set  by  the  Government  and 
the  employers,  with  little  or  no  input  by  workers.   The 
employer  must  meet  the  minimum  wage  set  by  the  Government,  and 
most  companies  pay  above  the  government-established  minimum. 
There  are  no  export  processing  or  free  trade  zones. 



c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor  and  slavery  are  prohibited  by  law,  and  slavery 
does  not  exist  in  Equatorial  Guinea.   However,  persons  detained 
without  formal  charges  at  Blackbich  prison  and  security 
headquarters  in  J^alabo  and  the  police  station  in  Luba  during 
1991  were  forced  to  do  day  labor  on  the  farms,  at  residential 
construction  sites,  and  in  businesses  of  senior  government 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  legal  minimum  age  for  employment  is  16,  but  there  is  no 
enforcement  of  this  law.  Children  younger  than  16  commonly 
assist  families  with  agricultural  production  and  sales. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

There  is  only  a  small  industrial  sector  in  the  country.   Most 
salaried  employment  is  provided  by  the  Government,  construction 
companies,  businesses  providing  retail  goods  and  services,  and 
the  plantation  agricultural  sector.   In  April  1990,  the 
Government  increased  the  statutory  minimum  wage  rates  for 
workers  in  nonagricultural  sectors.   The  minimum  wage  law  is 
not  widely  enforced,  and  government  employees  are  exempted  from 
its  provisions.   The  minimum  wage  by  itself  does  not  provide  a 
worker  and  family  with  a  decent  living,  and  most  of  those  with 
regular  salaried  income  have  to  supplement  their  earnings  with 
income  from  other  sources  or  by  farming.   The  law  limits  the 
regular  workweek  to  48  hours  and  guarantees  employees  1  rest 
day  per  week,  plus  regularly  scheduled  national  holidays.   The 
Labor  Code  offers  comprehensive  protection  for  workers  from 
occupational  hazards,  but  it  is  not  effectively  enforced. 
Safety  and  health  committees  which  are  explicitly  sanctioned  by 
the  Code  do  not  function,  and  employees  who  protest  unhealthful 
or  dangerous  working  conditions  risk  losing  their  jobs. 



A  coalition  of  ethnic-based  insurgencies  toppled  the  repressive 
regime  of  President  Mengistu  Haile-Mariam  in  late  May,  bringing 
profound  political  changes  to  Ethiopia.   The  former  president 
flew  into  exile  in  Zimbabwe  after  losing  a  series  of  decisive 
battles  to  an  umbrella  group  known  as  the  Ethiopian  People's 
Revolutionary  Democratic  Front  (EPRDF) .   In  addition,  the 
Eritrean  People's  Liberation  Front  (EPLF)  seized  the  Red  Sea 
coastline,  ending  a  long  struggle  for  control  of  the  former 
Italian  colony  of  Eritrea.   In  July  a  broad-based  national 
conference  adopted  a  charter  establishing  a  multiparty 
Transitional  Government  (TG)  to  organize  democratic  and 
multiparty  national  elections  before  1994.   EPRDF  Secretary 
General  Meles  Zenawi  was  elected  President  of  the  TG.   The 
National  Conference  also  acknowledged  a  separate  provisional 
government  for  Eritrea  under  EPLF  Secretary  General  Issaias 
Afwerki  and  endorsed  an  internationally  supervised  referendum 
on  Eritrea's  political  future  to  be  held  in  2  years. 

The  new  leadership  qpiickly  dismantled  the  extensive  military 
and  security  apparatus  of  the  Mengistu  government,  including 
the  police  and  surveillance  operations  by  neighborhood 
committees  known  as  kebeles.   The  joint  military/police  force 
of  the  TG  consists  of  some  120,000  to  140,000  EPRDF  regulars. 
While  retaining  the  kebele  structure  for  administrative 
purposes,  the  TG  instituted  a  parallel  system  of  thousands  of 
"Peace  and  Stability  Committees"  with  sweeping  powers  of 
investigation,  arrest,  and  detention.   Complicating  the  picture 
were  thousands  of  armed  followers  of  other  political  groups 
represented  in  the  TG.   At  year's  end,  the  TG  had  not  been  able 
to  eliminate  armed  ethnic  clashes,  particularly  in  the 
countryside.   In  Eritrea,  approximately  90,000  EPLF  regulars 
made  up  the  provisional  government's  military/security  force. 

The  civil  war  extended  into  the  principal  food  producing  and 
coffee  growing  areas  of  Ethiopia,  which  was  already  one  of  the 
world's  least  developed  countries  with  an  annual  per  capita 
income  of  $120.   When  Mengistu' s  government  finally  collapsed, 
over  a  million  civilians  had  been  displaced  by  war;  food  and 
fuel  shortages  were  chronic;  the  national  treasury  was  empty; 
foreign  exchange  was  reduced  to  less  than  1  day  of  imports;  and 
inflation  reached  an  annual  rate  of  21  percent.   At  year's  end, 
both  the  TG  and  EPLF  provisional  government  had  under 
consideration  draft  plans  calling  for  partial  privatization  and 
market  oriented  reforms,  leading  in  the  direction  of  a  mixed 
economy . 

Civil  war  remained  the  primary  factor  affecting  human  rights 
during  the  first  5  months.   All  parties  to  the  conflict 
committed  major  violations,  including  summary  executions, 
although  the  majority  of  these  came  from  the  Mengistu  forces 
(see  Section  l.g.).   The  change  of  government  brought  a 
significant  improvement  in  human  rights,  particularly  with 
respect  to  freedom  of  speech,  assembly,  association,  religion, 
and  travel.   The  new  leaders  in  both  Addis  Ababa  and  Asmara 
stated  their  commitment  to  the  establishment  of  multiparty 
democracy  and  rule  of  law  with  full  respect  for  human  rights. 
They  began  important  investigations  into  extrajudicial  killings 
and  disappearances  by  the  Mengistu  regime.   Nevertheless,  there 
were  new  and  serious  human  rights  abuses,  notably  in  the  hasty, 
ill-prepared  expulsions  of  non-Eritreans  from  Eritrea;  in  the 
detentions  without  charge  of  thousands  of  former  Mengistu 
government  officials;  in  the  political  disenf ranchisement  of 
former  members  of  the  now  banned  Workers'  Party  of  Ethiopia 
(WPE);  in  the  use  of  force  in  response  to  growing  criminal 



activity  and  political  challenges;  and,  above  all,  in  the 
continuing  ethnic  instability  and  politically  motivated 
violence,  which  by  the  end  of  1991  had  taken  several  thousand 
lives . 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

The  Mengistu  government  carried  out  thousands  of  political  and 
extrajudicial  killings  during  its  17  years  in  power.   The 
victims  of  these  killings  were  suspected  opponents  of  the 
regime  or  sympathizers  with  any  number  of  opposition  groups; 
ethnic  Eritreans,  Oromos,  and  Tigrayans  were  frequently 
targeted.   Captured  insurgents  were  often  executed. 

Throughout  the  civil  war,  EPRDF  forces  generally  abided  by 
conduct  codes  which  forbid  the  killing  of  unarmed  prisoners. 
However,  they  frequently  executed  summarily  accused  looters, 
whether  civilian  or  military,  including  EPRDF  members.   EPRDF 
radio  appeals  in  March  to  the  general  public  in  Gonder  and 
Gojam  to  apprehend  escaping  Mengistu  government  officials 
probably  sparked  some  unnecessary  killings,  but  those 
surrendering  to  the  EPRDF  were  given  protection.   Faced  with 
demonstrations  during  the  first  2  days  following  their  takeover 
of  Addis  Ababa,  the  EPRDF  acknowledged  shooting  at  least  nine 
demonstrators  dead,  some  of  them  armed.   A  number  of  accused 
looters  were  also  executed  without  trial.   There  were  no 
instances,  however,  of  extrajudicial  killing  of  former  Mengistu 
government  officials. 

After  the  TG  came  to  power  in  July,  there  were  dozens  of 
instances  of  violent  clashes  in  the  countryside  between  local 
military  elements  of  political  parties  within  the  TG.   In  a 
number  of  instances,  rival  groups  repeatedly  engaged  in 
politically  or  ethnically  motivated  killings.   The  ready 
availability  of  automatic  weapons  contributed  to  the  problem. 
In  one  such  case,  hundreds  of  members  of  one  ethnic  group  were 
slain  by  a  rival  group  armed  with  automatic  weapons  on  the 
shores  of  Lake  Abaya  in  early  June.   EPRDF  and  Oromo  Liberation 
Front  (OLF)  troops  clashed  in  the  Arsi  region  in  November  and 
in  the  Welega  and  Harerge  regions  in  December.   Also  in 
December,  local  EPRDF  forces  fired  on  a  motorcade  carrying  the 
leader  of  the  Sidamo  Liberation  Movement  (SLM)  in  Awasa  (Sidamo 
region),  resulting  in  at  least  one  death.   In  this  and  other 
cases,  the  national  leadership  of  the  political  groups 
intervened  to  mediate  and  investigate.   When  wrongdoing  was 
uncovered,  the  EPRDF  appeared  more  likely  to  discipline  its 
members  than  other  political  groups. 

In  Eritrea  the  Mengistu  government  summarily  executed  dozens  of 
civilians  during  the  first  5  months  of  the  year.   EPLF 
assassination  teams  also  targeted  civilians  whom  it  accused  of 
collaborating  with  the  Mengistu  government.   At  least  four 
civilians,  including  a  member  of  the  Mengistu  government's 
national  parliament,  were  assassinated  early  in  the  year. 
Since  the  EPLF  provisional  government  took  power  in  Eritrea  in 
late  May,  there  have  been  no  allegations  of  politically 
motivated  or  extrajudicial  killings. 



b.  Disappearance 

In  previous  years,  thousands  of  suspected  opponents  of  the 
Mengistu  government  disappeared,  and  a  number  of  Mengistu 
government  officials  also  disappeared  in  areas  falling  under 
insurgent  control. 

Since  the  TG  came  to  power  in  Addis  Ababa,  there  have  been 
charges  and  countercharges  among  its  various  political  parties 
of  politically  motivated  violence  in  the  countryside,  including 
some  disappearances  of  party  workers. 

In  Eritrea,  the  former  director  of  the  Asmara  police  hospital 
disappeared  after  being  taken  into  EPLF  custody  in  May. 
International  human  rights  organizations  tried  to  trace  reports 
that  a  half-dozen  other  persons,  most  arrested  in  Addis  Ababa 
and  repatriated  to  Eritrea,  also  disappeared  while  in  EPLF 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

During  the  Mengistu  era,  both  political  and  criminal  prisoners 
were  routinely  subjected  to  physical  abuse  and  torture, 
including  beatings  and  whippings,  electrical  shocks,  and 
suffocation,  during  interrogations.   Female  detainees  were 
frequently  raped.   Under  the  TG,  Ethiopian  television  has  aired 
testimony  from  former  victims  of  such  torture. 

There  have  been  no  allegations  of  torture  in  Ethiopian  jails, 
prisons,  or  detention  centers  since  Mengistu' s  ouster.  Three 
weeks  after  capturing  Addis  Ababa,  the  interim  EPRDF 
administration  announced  that  all  detained  Mengistu  government 
officials  would  be  treated  humanely.  The  National  Charter  of 
the  TG  abjures  torture  and  other  cruel,  inhuman,  or  degrading 
treatment  or  punishment. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Despite  protections  contained  in  the  1987  constitution, 
citizens  suspected  of  opposing  the  Mengistu  government  were 
subject  to  arrest  and  detention  without  charge  or  judicial 
review.   In  addition,  thousands  were  detained  without  charge 
over  the  years  under  states  of  emergency  declared  by  the 
Mengistu  government  in  Eritrea  and  Tigray,  which  permitted 
indefinite  detention. 

At  the  beginning  of  1991,  Mengistu 's  government  was  believed  to 
have  an  estimated  500  persons  under  political  detention,  most 
of  them  without  charge.   In  the  days  immediately  preceding  the 
EPRDF  capture  of  Addis  Ababa,  Mengistu  government  jailers  set 
free  most  prisoners  held  in  the  city,  criminal  as  well  as 
political.   The  TG  denied  inheriting  any  political  prisoners 
detained  by  the  Mengistu  government.   The  Mengistu  government 
did  not  use  exile  as  a  means  of  political  control,  but  more 
than  1  million  citizens  fled  the  country  during  the  Mengistu 
years  to  escape  war  and  persecution. 

The  TG  National  Charter  approved  in  July  prohibits  arbitrary 
arrest,  detention,  and  exile.   Since  their  seizure  of  power  in 
late  May,  however,  the  new  authorities  have  detained  thousands 
of  civilians  without  charge,  the  largest  number  being  senior 
Mengistu  government  or  WPE  officials  arrested  solely  because  of 
the  position  they  held.   Also  detained  were  former  Mengistu 
government  officials  accused  of  corruption  or  believed  involved 



in  violations  of  humanitarian  law.   While  thousands  were 
subsequently  released,  additional  suspects  continued  to  be 
arrested  on  the  recommendation  of  local  Peace  and  Stability 
Committees  throughout  the  country.   In  addition,  the  TG  set  up 
"Complaints  Review  and  Grievance  Clearing  Committees"  to 
investigate  allegations  of  corruption  or  abuse  of  power. 

At  year's  end,  the  TG  authorities  acknowledged  having  1,522 
Mengistu  government  civilians  under  detention  who  had  still  not 
been  charged — a  consequence,  TG  officials  said,  of  abolishing 
the  Mengistu  police  force  (formally  charged  with 
investigations)  and  suspending  Mengistu  public  prosecutors  and 
judges.   In  addition,  other  civilians,  perhaps  hundreds,  have 
been  detained  without  charge  by  the  EPRDF  or  other  political 
organizations  around  the  country.   In  November  the  TG  detained 
four  nationals  from  neighboring  Djibouti  without  charge, 
reportedly  at  the  behest  of  the  Djiboutian  authorities.   In  the 
absence  of  a  police  force,  investigations  became  the 
responsibility  of  EPRDF  administrators,  local  Peace  and 
Stability  Committees,  Complaints  Review  Committees,  and 
personnel  from  the  newly  reconstituted  Ministries  of  Internal 
Affairs  and  Defense.   The  new  judicial  system  was  not  yet  in 
place  at  the  end  of  1991. 

With  support  from  international  donors,  the  TG  demobilized  the 
majority  of  the  350,000  to  450,000  soldiers  from  the  defeated 
Mengistu  army.   According  to  the  International  Committee  of  the 
Red  Cross  (ICRC),  of  the  250,000  former  soldiers  originally 
held  in  TG  detention  facilities,  all  but  13,275  had  been 
released  by  the  end  of  1991.   Of  those  still  in  detention, 
9,500  were  disabled  war  veterans  accommodated  for  humanitarian 
reasons,  and  1,100  were  former  officers  detained  for  possible 
war  crimes  trials. 

In  Eritrea  the  Mengistu  government  had  detained  hundreds  of 
civilians  suspected  of  sympathizing  with  the  EPLF  during  the 
first  5  months  of  the  year.   In  the  port  of  Aseb,  several 
hundred  ethnic  Eritreans  and  Tigrayans  were  also  detained, 
including  drivers  operating  U.N.  vehicles  delivering  relief 
food.   Of  the  85,000  Mengistu  military  captured  by  the  EPLF  in 
May  (see  Section  l.g.),  all  but  900  had  been  repatriated  to 
Ethiopia  by  the  end  of  the  year.   While  no  formal  charges  had 
been  brought  against  the  900,  all  were  suspected  of  war 
crimes.   Under  an  agreement  with  the  TG,  these  900  were  to  be 
repatriated  to  Ethiopia  for  possible  trial.   In  addition,  the 
EPLF  acknowledged  having  detained  300  Mengistu  government  and 
WPE  officials  still  under  detention  without  charge  in  December, 
as  well  as  600  other  civilians  accused  of  criminal  offenses. 
While  difficult  to  evaluate,  some  human  rights  monitoring 
groups  believe  the  number  of  civilians  detained  in  Eritrea  at 
year's  end  was  several  times  the  figure  given  by  the  EPLF. 

The  EPLF  provisional  government  published  new  civil  and 
criminal  codes  on  September  15  which  contain  a  full  range  of 
judicial  safeguards,  including  habeas  corpus  and  a  48-hour 
limit  on  detention  without  charge  (with  the  possibility  of  no 
more  than  two  14-day  extensions  with  judicial  authorization) . 
The  EPLF  provisional  government  does  not  use  exile  as  a  means 
of  political  control. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

For  the  first  5  months  of  1991,  the  judicial  system  was  based 
on  the  1987  Mengistu  government's  constitution  which 
established  a  Supreme  Court  and  regional  courts  elected  by  the 



respective  parliaments.   Separate  military  courts  handled  not 
only  trials  involving  the  Mengistu  government  military  but  were 
also  set  up  in  contested  areas.   Despite  constitutional 
provisions  for  judicial  independence  and  public  trials,  cases 
deemed  political  in  nature  were  often  subject  to  manipulation 
and  meddling  by  senior  Mengistu  officials. 

The  EPRDF  capture  of  power  brought  sweeping  changes  in  the 
judicial  system:   the  Mengistu  government's  Ministries  of 
Defense  and  Internal  Affairs  were  disbanded  and  reorganized 
only  after  a  delay  of  7  weeks;  the  entire  police  force  was 
dismissed  (customs  police  and  traffic  police  were  later 
reinstated);  and  government  judges  and  public  prosecutors  were 
suspended.   EPRDF  soldiers  initially  assumed  all  police 
functions,  but  within  weeks  Peace  and  Stability  Committees  had 
been  established  at  most  local  and  regional  levels.   On  June 
18,  the  EPRDF  announced  that  all  trials  of  Mengistu  government 
detainees  would  be  fair  and  public,  follow  due  process,  be  open 
to  international  observers,  with  defendants  having  the  right  to 
counsel.   The  TG  National  Charter  approved  in  July  also 
promised  fair  and  public  trials  before  independent  and 
impartial  tribunals,  presumption  of  innocence,  and  no  ex  post 
facto  criminal  laws. 

As  of  late  1991,  no  trials  of  former  Mengistu  government 
officials  had  begun.   TG  Ministers  of  Justice  and  Internal 
Affairs  were  first  appointed  in  August.   By  year's  end,  the 
TG ' s  overworked  Council  of  Representatives  still  had  not 
established  the  independent  judiciary  called  for  in  the  July 
Charter.   The  Council  passed  legislation  at  the  end  of  December 
establishing  new  police  forces  at  the  national  and  regional 
level.   A  draft  proposal  to  establish  an  office  of  the  special 
prosecutor  for  the  cases  of  former  Mengistu  officials  was 
circulating.   Investigations  proceeded  throughout  the  year, 
however,  carried  out  variously  by  local  Peace  and  Stability 
Committees  which  sometimes  gathered  testimony  in  public 
meetings.  Complaints  Review  and  Grievance  Clearing  Committees 
in  the  workplace,  EPRDF  administrators,  and  personnel  from  the 
newly  reconstituted  Ministries  of  Internal  Affairs  and 
Defense.   The  Council  banned  former  WPE  members  from  any 
political  activity,  and  hundreds  of  former  WPE  members  lost 
their  jobs  in  some  ministries,  including  noncareer  diplomats 
abroad.   Others  in  the  civil  service,  many  of  whom  had  joined 
the  WPE  reluctantly  or  in  order  to  further  their  careers,  found 
themselves  increasingly  harassed  by  their  TG  superiors. 

In  Eritrea  the  EPLF  provisional  government  established  a 
separate  judiciary  in  September.   At  the  apex  of  the  EPLF 
provisional  government's  judicial  system  is  a  12-member  High 
Court  made  up  of  legal  professionals  appointed  by  the  EPLF 
provisional  government's  Justice  Secretary,  who  was  responsible 
for  court  administration.   Appointments  to  lower  courts  were 
made  by  the  President  of  the  High  Court.   Some  judges  from  the 
Mengistu  government  were  retained.   To  ensure  judicial 
independence,  judges  were  given  immunity  from  arrest  and  were 
subject  to  removal  only  by  an  independent  committee. 
Investigations  into  alleged  wrongdoing  were  the  reponsibility 
of  the  EPLF  provisional  government's  Secretary  for  Security, 
whereas  prosecutions  fell  to  a  newly  established  Attorney 
General's  office.   The  Eritrean  court  system  became  functional 
only  in  November,  and  there  had  been  no  trials  of  former 
Mengistu  government  officials  by  year's  end. 



f .  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

The  Mengistu  government's  police  and  security  ignored 
constitutional  requirements  to  obtain  warrants  for  the  search 
of  offices  or  private  homes,  monitoring  mail,  or  conducting 
visual  and  electronic  surveillance,  and  operated  extensive  nets 
of  informers,  especially  through  urban  kebeles. 

During  the  first  several  weeks  after  their  capture  of  Addis 
Ababa  and  other  cities,  EPRDF  forces  conducted  house-to-house 
searches  (sometimes  involving  forced  entry)  for  firearms  and 
former  Mengistu  officials  in  hiding.   The  TG  National  Charter 
approved  in  July  prohibits  arbitrary  interference  in  privacy, 
family,  home,  or  correspondence.   Nevertheless,  complaints 
remained  common  about  intrusions  into  private  premises  by  the 
frequently  rotated  EPRDF  troops  who  provided  public  security  in 
urban  areas  in  the  absence  of  a  police  force.   Local  Peace  and 
Stability  Committees  often  appeared  to  act  arbitrarily  in 
authorizing  searches  and  arrests  by  the  EPRDF.   Unlicensed 
possession  of  firearms  continued  to  bedevil  TG  authorities,  and 
private  and  commercial  vehicles  were  subject  to  random 
searches.   Former  WPE  members  were  required  to  report  to  their 
local  Committee  every  Sunday;  failure  to  do  so  could  result  in 
arrest . 

The  July  National  Charter  explicitly  condemned  the  Mengistu 
government's  previous  coercive  policies  of  resettlement  and 
villagization  and  promised  priority  attention  to  the 
rehabilitation  of  persons  uprooted  under  these  programs. 

In  Eritrea  the  EPLF  also  engaged  in  searches  of  homes  and 
offices  for  firearms  and  Mengistu  government  officials  in 
hiding.   By  October  the  EPLF  provisional  government  authorities 
said  legal  protections  against  warrantless  searches  were  in 

g.  Use  of  Excessive  Force  and  Violations  of  Hiimanitarian 
Law  in  Internal  Conflicts 

Untold  thousands  of  civilians  died  in  the  civil  war  which  ended 
in  May  1991.   All  parties  to  the  conflict  at  times  engaged  in 
military  operations  with  scant  regard  for  civilian  lives. 
There  is  no  reliable  estimate  of  the  number  of  civilian 
casualties  during  the  final  months  of  the  war. 

The  Mengistu  government  stepped  up  its  enlistment  efforts  to 
include  all  veterans,  retired  police  and  security  officers,  and 
reservists,  some  in  their  50 ' s  and  60 's.   Despite  guidance  that 
new  recruits  be  18  years  or  older,  some  recruits  as  young  as  14 
were  caught  up  in  indiscriminate  sweeps  outside  schools  or  in 
marketplaces.   Lethal  force  was  sometimes  used  in  stopping 
those  trying  to  avoid  recruitment.   While  relying  primarily  on 
volunteers,  the  EPLF,  EPRDF,  and  OLF  on  occasion  enlisted 
minors,  some  as  young  as  those  conscripted  by  Mengistu' s 
government . 

The  retreating  Mengistu  government  military  units  generally 
exercised  good  discipline  with  regard  to  treatment  of  civilians 
in  the  final  months  of  the  war.   In  some  instances,  however, 
such  as  in  Nekemte  (Welega  region)  in  late  March,  in  Ambo 
(Shewa  region)  in  mid-April,  and  in  western  Eritrea  in  late 
May,  there  were  credible  allegations  of  robbery,  rape, 
beatings,  and  killings  of  civilians  by  undisciplined  Mengistu 
troops.   EPRDF  and  EPLF  soldiers  showed  a  high  degree  of 



discipline  and  9ivi^  behavior  toward  civilians  throughout  the 
final  stages  of  the  war. 

Upwards  of  1,000  civilians  died  on  May  28  while  attempting  to 
loot  a  munitions  plant  booby-trapped  by  the  Mengistu  government 
in  the  Addis  Ababa  suburb  of  Gulele.   Another  140  civilians 
died  and  150  were  wounded  when  former  Mengistu  government 
military  personnel  sabotaged  a  munitions  dump  in  the  Nefas  Silk 
suburb  on  June  4.   The  explosion  and  resulting  fire  also  left 
7,000  homeless. 

Treatment  of  captured  Mengistu  government  military  personnel 
was  reportedly  good,  thereby  enabling  the  insurgents  to  recruit 
large  numbers  into  their  ranks.   Nevertheless,  the  former  rebel 
groups  and  the  Mengistu  government  alike  refused  to  accord 
those  captured  prisoner  of  war  status  and  barred  the  ICRC 
access  throughout  the  course  of  the  war.   Shortly  after 
capturing  Asmara,  the  EPLF  expelled  an  ICRC  medical  team  there 
that  had  been  assisting  with  war  wounded.   The  ICRC  office  in 
Addis  Ababa  remained  open  after  the  EPRDF  took  power  and  worked 
closely  with  the  TG  in  setting  up  transit  camps  for  demobilized 
Mengistu  government  soldiers.   In  December  the  TG  authorized 
the  ICRC  to  visit  all  former  Mengistu  government  and  WPE 
civilians  remaining  in  detention. 

The  international  relief  structure  largely  held  together 
throughout  the  year,  although  military  operations  occasionally 
interfered  with  the  flow  of  relief.   While  not  as  a  result  of 
deliberate  effort  by  the  Mengistu  government  or  its  opponents, 
the  war  seriously  disrupted  the  flow  of  relief  to  Somali  and 
Sudanese  refugee  camps  in  the  southeast  and  southwest, 
resulting  in  serious  food  ration  deficits  in  some  camps. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Freedom  of  speech  and  press  did  not  exist  under  the  Mengistu 
government.   The  government  strictly  controlled  the  content  of 
the  state-owned  and  -operated  information  media,  and  individual 
expression  of  unauthorized  political  opinions  or  views  could 
and  did  result  in  imprisonment. 

The  TG's  National  Charter,  approved  in  July,  provides  for 
freedom  of  opinion  and  expression  and  the  right  to  impart  these 
through  any  media,  although,  pending  action  on  a  new  press  law, 
all  broadcast  and  most  print  media  remained  under  state  control 
through  the  end  of  1991.   Nevertheless,  individuals  and 
political  groups,  including  those  critical  of  the  TG,  had 
access  to  the  state-controlled  media.   A  TG  proclamation 
guaranteeing  free  and  equal  access  by  all  political 
organizations  to  state-controlled  broadcast  and  print  media 
took  effect  in  November  and  appeared  to  be  respected  in 
practice.   Three  political  parties  (the  EPRDF,  the  OLF,  and  the 
Oromo  People's  Democratic  Organization,  or  OPDO)  began 
publishing  their  own  newspapers  in  the  fall.   Ethiopia's  first 
independent  tabloid  newspaper  began  appearing  irregularly  by 
year's  end.   Owing  to  lack  of  foreign  exchange,  newsprint 
remained  in  short  supply,  and  foreign  magazines  and  newspapers 
were  not  readily  available. 

In  Eritrea  the  EPLF  provisional  government  abolished  the 
Mengistu  government's  censorship  boards.   It  imposed  no 
restrictions  on  independent  newspapers,  and  four  small 
newspapers  printed  by  Eritrean  religious  organizations 



circulated  freely.   In  September  the  EPLF  government  introduced 
a  new  government  newspaper,  which  due  to  shortage  of  newsprint 
was  published  only  twice  a  week.   The  availability  of  foreign 
magazines  and  newspapers  was  also  restricted  due  to  lack  of 
foreign  exchange.   The  state-controlled  newspaper  and  radio 
broadcasts  allowed  access  to  opposition  views. 

b.   Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Freedom  of  assembly  and  association  expanded  greatly  during 
1991.   Despite  constitutional  guarantees,  the  Mengistu 
government  did  not  allow  citizens  to  organize  or  demonstrate 
against  official  policies,  and  it  influenced  or  controlled  most 
organizations  in  the  country. 

The  day  after  entering  Addis  Ababa,  the  EPRDF  banned 
demonstrations  after  several  turned  violent.   In  the  weeks  that 
followed,  however,  the  EPRDF  interim  administration  permitted 
dozens  of  peaceful  demonstrations.   The  July  National  Charter 
endorsed  freedom  of  association,  peaceable  assembly,  and  the 
right  to  engage  in  unrestricted  political  activity  and  to 
organize  political  parties.   On  August  15,  the  TG  issued  a 
proclamation  recognizing  the  right  to  demonstrate,  and  popular 
demonstrations  became  routine  around  the  country,  including 
those  protesting  TG  policies. 

While  there  was  a  proliferation  of  political  organizations  (59 
by  the  end  of  the  year)  after  the  TG  was  formed,  not  all 
political  parties  were  free  to  organize.   Mengistu 's  WPE  and 
its  various  appendages  were  dissolved  after  the  EPRDF  seized 
power  in  late  May.   The  ban  was  later  endorsed  by  the  TG's 
Council  of  Representatives  in  August. 

While  not  formally  banned,  certain  expatriate  groups  which 
reject  the  principles  of  the  National  Charter  were  also  not 
free  to  organize  in  the  country,  among  them:   the  Coalition  of 
Ethiopian  Democratic  Forces,  the  Ethiopian  People's 
Revolutionary  Party,  and  the  All-Ethiopian  Socialist  Movement 
(MEISON) .   On  August  15,  the  TG  issued  a  proclamation  requiring 
organizers  to  inform  authorities  of  public  political  meetings 
48  hours  in  advance.   While  implementation  of  the  proclamation 
did  not  prove  restrictive  to  organizations  which  gave  notice, 
in  some  cases  local  EPRDF  administrators  in  the  countryside 
cited  the  proclamation  as  justification  for  breaking  up 
unauthorized  political  meetings  and  sometimes  arresting 
participants.   In  November  three  executives  of  the  United 
Democratic  Nationals  (UDN)  party  were  arrested  after 
participants  in  an  authorized  UDN  demonstration  attacked  TG 
security  personnel.   The  UDN  leaders  were  charged  with 
responsibility  for  the  incident  under  the  terms  of  their 
demonstration  permit,  and  a  trial  in  one  of  the  civilian  courts 
still  functioning  was  scheduled  for  January  1992.   As  of  the 
end  of  1991,  the  need  for  procedures  for  registering  political 
parties  and  other  organizations  was  under  discussion  in  the  TG 
Council  of  Representatives. 

In  Eritrea,  by  contrast,  the  EPLF  was  synonymous  with  the 
provisional  government,  and  there  were  no  restrictions  on  the 
freedom  of  assembly;  no  permits  for  meetings  were  recjuired. 
EPLF  provisional  government  leaders  declared  all  individuals 
and  groups  were  entitled  to  express  their  views  freely  in  the 
period  leading  up  to  the  referendum.   As  of  late  1991,  no  rules 
for  the  registration  of  political  or  other  organizations  had 
been  drafted. 



c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Following  the  1974  revolution,  the  Ethiopian  Orthodox  Church 
lost  its  status  as  state  church  and  saw  its  extensive  land 
holdings — perhaps  as  much  as  30  percent  of  all  cultivated  land 
at  the  time — confiscated  by  the  State.   Under  the  Mengistu 
government,  all  religions  were  declared  equal,  but  WPE  members 
were  prohibited  from  religious  worship  services,  and  references 
to  any  deity  were  not  allowed  to  appear  in  the  media.   Certain 
religions,  particularly  foreign  Protestant  evangelical 
organizations,  were  persecuted  for  alleged  political 
activities,  their  leaders  arrested,  their  followers  sometimes 
killed,  and  many  churches  closed.   The  Jehovah's  Witnesses  were 
totally  banned. 

Since  coming  to  power  in  July,  TG  officials  have  advocated 
complete  freedom  of  religion.   The  July  National  Charter 
guaranteed  freedom  of  religion,  including  private  and  public 
worship  and  the  right  of  conversion.   Across  southern  Ethiopia, 
the  TG  returned  hundreds  of  Protestant  churches  closed  by  the 
Mengistu  government  in  the  late  1970 's.   It  lifted  the  ban  on 
the  Jehovah's  Witnesses;  4,000  adherents  held  their  first  Bible 
study  in  public  in  September.   The  construction  of  some 
mosques,  halted  15  years  ago,  resumed.   Links  with  foreign 
religious  bodies  were  freely  allowed. 

The  TG  authorities  appeared  to  intervene,  however,  in  Ethiopian 
Orthodox  Church  affairs  in  late  August,  forcing  the  Ethiopian 
Orthodox  Patriarch  from  office,  allegedly  for  cooperation  with 
the  Mengistu  government.   The  Ethiopian  Orthodox  Holy  Synod 
named  a  committee  to  oversee  church  affairs  until  a  new 
Patriarch  could  be  elected. 

In  interconf essional  violence  in  the  second  half  of  the  year, 
churches  and  moscjues  were  burned  and  hundreds  may  have  died. 
TG  authorities  attempted  to  mediate  the  disputes. 

Most  of  Ethiopia's  small  Jewish  population,  known  as  Beta 
Israel  or  "Falasha"  (a  word  meaning  immigrant  or  outsider), 
left  their  traditional  homelands  in  Gonder  and  Tigray  during 
1990  and  emigrated  to  Israel  in  1991.   By  year's  end, 
approximately  4,500  Jews  were  believed  to  remain  in  Ethiopia, 
and  emigration  processing  was  already  under  way  for  these  few. 
There  were  no  reports  of  violence  or  discrimination  against 
Jews  or  "Feres  Mora"  (Jewish  converts  to  Christianity)  by 
either  Mengistu  or  TG  officials  during  the  year. 

In  Eritrea  the  EPLF  provisional  government  also  proclaimed 
freedom  of  religion.   The  EPLF  provisional  government  announced 
its  intention  to  return  church  property  confiscated  by  the 
former  government  and  pledged  not  to  interfere  in  internal 
religious  matters.   Religious  schools  closed  by  the  Mengistu 
government  were  encouraged  to  reopen. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

During  the  first  5  months  of  the  year,  freedom  of  movement 
around  the  country  was  increasingly  restricted  by  the  civil  war 
and  deteriorating  security  conditions.   Foreign  travel, 
emigration,  and  repatriation  were  severely  restricted  by 
Mengistu  government  policies.   In  late  May,  the  interim 
government  of  Lt.  General  Tesfaye  Gebre-Kidan  oversaw  the 
emergency  humanitarian  airlift  of  14,000  Jews  from  Addis  Ababa 
to  Israel. 



The  National  Charter  adopted  in  July  recognizes  freedom  of 
movement,  including  the  right  to  foreign  travel  and 
emigration.   Citizens  no  longer  require  permission  for  local 
travel;  however,  there  were  credible  reports  that  some  local  TG 
officials  discouraged  migration  between  regions  in  order  to 
dampen  ethnic  tensions.   Authorities  maintained  that  Jews  have 
the  Seime  right  of  emigration  as  other  citizens  without  special 
government-to-government  agreements  that  characterized  the 
Mengistu  regime.   Emigration  of  individual  Jews  resumed  in 
September.  The  TG  also  declared  that  all  citizens  remaining  in 
exile  were  welcome  to  return. 

Despite  its  own  domestic  turmoil,  Ethiopia  was  host  during  the 
year  to  hundreds  of  thousands  of  refugees  fleeing  civil  war  and 
instability  in  Somalia  and  Sudan.   The  TG  has  been  cooperative 
with  the  United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR) 
and  other  international  agencies  and  generally  adheres  to 
international  norms  for  refugees.   However  the  TG  did  not 
maintain  a  continuous  presence  in  Somali  and  Sudanese 
refugee/returnee  camps,  as  had  the  Mengistu  government. 
Refugee  protection  remained  problematic  throughout  the  year. 

In  southeastern  Ethiopia,  approximately  400,000  to  500,000 
Somali  refugees  were  joined  by  350,000  Ethiopian  returnees 
driven  out  by  fighting  in  Somalia.   An  estimated  100,000  Somali 
refugees  spontaneously  returned  to  northwest  Somalia  by  the  end 
of  1991.   There  were  credible  reports  of  military  recruitment 
among  war-displaced  refugees/returnees  by  the  OLF  and  various 
ethnic  Somali-based  political  groups.   Such  recruitment 
continued  in  the  second  half  of  the  year,  despite  TG 
injunctions.   In  southwestern  Ethiopia,  the  Sudanese  People's 
Liberation  Army  (SPLA)  forcibly  recruited  refugees,  from 
refugee  camps  which  the  SPLA  was  allowed  to  control  by  the 
Mengistu  government,  into  its  armed  forces.   Following 
Mengistu' s  fall  in  late  May,  the  SPLA  evacuated,  in  some  cases 
forcibly,  tens  of  thousands  of  Sudanese  refugees  from  these 
long  established  camps;  less  than  10,000  had  returned  to 
Ethiopia  by  year's  end. 

In  Eritrea  tens  of  thousands  of  non-Eritrean  civilians  fled 
during  the  final  stages  of  the  war.   Despite  intense 
international  criticism,  the  EPLF  provisional  government 
hastily  repatriated  to  Ethiopia  85,000  former  members  of  the 
Mengistu  military  and  about  50,000  dependents  in  June  and 
July.   Although  denying  it  was  making  forced  expulsions,  the 
provisional  government  also  arranged  the  repatriation  to 
Ethiopia  of  tens  of  thousands  of  other  non-Eritreans .   In 
December  the  EPLF  provisional  government  expelled  495  orphans 
whom  it  deemed  non-Eritrean.   Nonetheless,  tens  of  thousands  of 
non-Eritreans  have  opted  to  remain  in  Eritrea.   Following  the 
announcement  of  a  general  amnesty  on  June  22,  thousands  of 
Eritrean  refugees  returned  voluntarily  from  Sudan.   By  year's 
end,  the  EPLF  provisional  government  had  not  promulgated  an 
emigration/ immigration  law. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Ethiopians  have  not  enjoyed  the  right  to  change  their 
government  peacefully  at  any  time  in  the  last  century.   In 
1991,  however,  the  collapse  of  Mengistu' s  authoritarian  rule 
brought  to  power  new  political  forces  with  the  express 
intention  of  creating  a  multiparty  system  which,  if 
implemented,  would  enable  citizens  to  change  their  government 
through  democratic  elections.   For  the  first  5  months  of  the 



year,  political  power  in  the  Mengistu  government  was  formally 
institutionalized  in  the  WPE,  the  only  legal  party. 

Despite  its  overwhelming  military  advantage,  the  EPRDF  invited 
27  political  and  ethnic  organizations  to  attend  a  July  1-5 
National  Conference  held  in  Addis  Ababa.   Conference 
13rticipants  agreed  on  a  National  Charter  that  spelled  out 
universal  guarantees  of  human  rights,  recognized  the  right  of 
self-determination  for  all  Ethiopian  peoples,  and  set  out  a 
timetable  for  establishing  a  multiparty  democracy  by  January 
1994  at  the  latest.   The  National  Conference  also  set  up  a 
multiparty  Transitional  Government  (TG)  to  administer  the 
country  until  a  new  constitution  is  drafted  and  national 
elections  held.   The  coalition  of  ethnic-based  insurgencies 
that  toppled  the  Mengistu  government  in  midyear  has  attempted 
to  forge  a  new  political  consensus  based  on  recognition  of  the 
country's  ethnic  and  linguistic  diversity. 

The  TG  consists  of  a  quasi-legislative  Council  of 
Representatives  (87  members  representing  32  political  and 
ethnic  groups),  a  Council  of  Ministers  (17  members  representing 
7  groups),  and  an  independent  judiciary  (not  yet  established  by 
year's  end).   The  Cabinet  announced  in  August  also  included  the 
first  female  minister  in  Ethiopian  history.   The  EPRDF 
(actually  a  coalition  of  four  parties)  does  not  enjoy 
majorities  in  either  the  Council  of  Representatives  or  the 
Council  of  Ministers,  but  it  captured  most  of  the  key  positions 
in  the  Transitional  Government  (President,  Prime  Minister, 
Foreign  Affairs,  Defense,  Internal  Affairs).   EPRDF  officials 
are  also  predominant  in  the  "provisional  administrative 
committees"  in  cities  and  towns  outside  the  capital.   Local  and 
regional  elections  planned  for  October  were  delayed  until  1992 
as  the  Council  of  Representatives  debated  how  to  redraw  the 
administrative  boundaries  to  reflect  ethnic  divisions  and 
election  procedures. 

In  Eritrea,  on  the  other  hand,  the  EPLF  administers  a  one-party 
provisional  government  tasked  with  governing  until  an 
internationally  supervised  referendum  on  Eritrea's  political 
future  can  be  held.   With  the  general  population  evenly  divided 
between  Christians  and  Muslims,  the  EPLF  emphasized  religious 
balance  in  leadership  positions:   five  of  the  nine  members  of 
the  EPLF  Politburo  are  Muslim,  and  Muslims  hold  half  of  the 
portfolios  in  the  EPLF  provisional  government  cabinet. 
Delegates  to  the  Addis  Ababa  National  Conference  in  July,  which 
the  EPLF  attended  as  an  observer,  supported  interim 
administration  for  Eritrea  and  recognized  the  Eritrean  people's 
right  to  self-determination  through  an  internationally 
supervised  referendum,  which  the  EPLF  agreed  to  defer  for  up  to 
2  years.   In  September  the  EPLF  provisional  government  invited 
U.N.  assistance  in  supervising  the  referendum,  and  in  December 
the  TG  officially  requested  U.N.  assistance  in  the  Eritrean 
referendum.   Once  the  referendum  is  held,  EPLF  leaders  said 
they  plan  to  convene  a  constituent  assembly  to  draft  a  new 
constitution  based  on  a  multiparty  political  system  and 
democratic  elections. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

In  October  a  group  of  private  citizens  organized  Ethiopia's 
first  independent  human  rights  monitoring  body:   the  Ethiopian 
Human  Rights  Council  (EHRCO),  headed  by  a  prominent  academic 
and  frequent  critic  of  the  TG.   Also  in  October,  two  other 



private  groups  formed  to  further  political  dialog  and  promote 
respect  for  democratic  rights:   the  Ethiopian  Congress  for 
Democracy  (ECD)  and  Forum-84 .   All  three  groups  have  been 
allowed  to  operate  freely  and  have  access  to  state-controlled 
media  to  broadcast  information  about  their  activities.   As  of 
December ,  there  had  been  no  attempts  to  form  any  local  human 
rights  monitoring  group  in  Eritrea. 

The  Mengistu  government  had  a  long  record  of  resistance  to 
international  efforts  to  investigate  human  rights  abuses.   The 
new  TG  has  been  generally  willing  to  discuss  human  rights 
concerns  with  diplomatic  missions  and  international  and 
nongovernmental  organizations.   Amnesty  International 
representatives  had  their  first  free  and  unrestricted  visit  to 
Ethiopia  in  July  and  visited  again  in  December  to  investigate 
alleged  violations  of  human  rights.   An  Africa  Watch  delegation 
visited  Ethiopia  in  October.   Both  groups  were  received  by 
high-level  TG  officials  and  given  prominent  coverage  in  the 
state-controlled  media. 

In  Eritrea  the  EPLF  provisional  government  expelled  the  ICRC 
shortly  after  seizing  power  in  May,  but  in  December  agreed  to  a 
reestablished  ICRC  presence  to  cooperate  with  local  authorities 
in  the  field  of  orthopedics.   EPLF  officials  agreed  in 
principle  that  international  and  nongovernmental  organizations 
be  allowed  access  to  investigate  human  rights  conditions.   In 
December  the  EPLF  provisional  government  received  an  Amnesty 
International  delegation. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

More  than  72  disparate  ethnic  groups,  most  having  their  own 
tribal  languages,  make  up  Ethiopia's  population  of  over  50 
million.   The  inability  of  the  Mengistu  government  to  deal  in  a 
noncoercive  manner  with  the  political  and  socioeconomic 
aspirations  of  these  various  groups  contributed  decisively  to 
its  downfall.   The  National  Charter  affirms  the  right  of  all 
Ethiopian  peoples  to  preserve  separate  languages  and 
identities,  with  recourse  to  self-determination,  including 

The  TG  abolished  the  Mengistu  government's  Revolutionary 
Ethiopian  Women's  Association  (REWA) ,  an  appendage  of  the 
banned  WPE,  and  detained  the  former  chairwoman  without  charge. 
No  successor  organization  has  been  formed. 

Despite  protections  afforded  them  in  the  1987  constitution, 
women  are  accorded  low  social  status  in  many  traditional 
cultures  in  the  country.   U.N.  studies  document  marriage  at 
very  young  ages,  hard  and  time-consuming  labor,  unequal 
employment  opportunities,  and  below  average  wages  in  urban 
areas.   However,  women  in  the  major  Ethiopian  ethnic  groups 
(Amhara,  Oromo,  Tigrayan)  enjoy  certain  economic  and  legal 
rights  equal  to  men;  they  may  inherit,  sell,  or  buy  property, 
and  engage  freely  in  commerce.   Despite  a  large  number  of 
female  soldiers  in  the  EPRDF  forces,  women  are  not  well 
represented  in  leadership  positions  in  the  EPRDF  or  any  of  the 
other  newly  formed  parties. 

The  TG  has  established  a  national  committee  on  traditional 
practices  considered  harmful  to  women.   Among  them:   female 
circumcision  (affecting  fourth-fifths  of  all  Ethiopian  women); 
tatooing  (a  possible  means  of  AIDS  virus  transmission); 
insertion  of  lip  and  ear  plates  among  some  southwestern  tribes; 



nutritional  taboos;  and  child  marriage.   Domestic  violence 
remains  common.   While  women  have  recourse  to  police  protection 
and  official  prosecution  in  cases  of  domestic  violence, 
societal  norms  and  fear  of  loss  of  the  social  security  that 
marriage  provides  inhibit  many  women  from  seeking  legal 
redress.   The  TG  established  a  new  desk  for  women's  rights  in 
the  Ministry  of  Justice. 

In  Eritrea  the  EPLF  provisional  government  worked  to 
accommodate  nine  indigenous  ethnic  groups  and  Christian-Muslim 
divisions  in  the  Eritrean  population  of  3  to  4  million.   Women 
in  Eritrea  are  accorded  inferior  social  status  in  many 
traditional  cultures.   Nevertheless,  participation  by  women  in 
the  armed  struggle — one-third  of  EPLF  fighters  were  female — is 
working  to  change  attitudes.   Six  women  sit  on  the  71-member 
EPLF  Central  Committee.   The  EPLF  provisional  government 
codified  a  broad  range  of  rights  for  Eritrean  women  in 
mid-September,  including  guarantees  of  equal  educational 
opportunity;  land  ownership,  equal  pay  for  ec[ual  work,  and 
other  economic  and  legal  rights;  and  legal  sanctions  against 
domestic  violence.   The  campaign  against  dangerous  traditional 
practices,  including  female  circumcision,  nutritional  taboos, 
and  traditional  birth  methods  was  taken  up  by  the  National 
Union  of  Eritrean  Women. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Under  the  Mengistu  government,  the  nonagricultural  labor  force 
was  mandatorily  organized  into  a  single  trade  union  federation, 
the  Ethiopian  Trade  Union  (ETU) ,  under  the  control  of  the 
ruling  WPE.   Agricultural  workers  were  organized  in  the 
Ethiopian  Peasant's  Association  (EPA),  also  under  WPE  control. 
Despite  guarantees  in  the  1987  constitution,  workers  and 
farmers  were  not  permitted  to  organize  outside  the  ETU  and  EPA, 
and  the  WPE  approved  candidate  slates  for  all  union  officials. 
The  right  to  strike  was  recognized  in  principle,  but  forbidden 
in  practice. 

Upon  taking  power,  the  Transitional  Government  (TG)  dissolved 
the  ETU  and  EPA  at  the  national  level.   The  TG  National  Charter 
recognizes  the  right  to  form  and  join  trade  unions.   Beginning 
in  July,  the  TG  organized  elections  for  new  union  officials  at 
the  factory-level,  barring  former  members  of  the  WPE  and 
security  personnel  from  voting  and  holding  office.   Similar 
elections  were  held  in  those  peasant  associations  that  survived 
the  transition. 

By  the  end  of  1991,  no  new  new  national  bodies  for  workers  and 
peasants  had  yet  been  established,  but  planning  was  under  way 
by  the  TG  for  convening  a  national  labor  congress  to  discuss 
the  issue.   The  TG's  Ministry  of  Labor  and  Social  Affairs  was 
responsible  for  drafting  a  new  labor  code;  in  the  interim,  the 
existing  1975  Labor  Code  remained  in  effect.   Under  this  Code, 
the  right  of  affiliation  to  international  organizations  was 
reserved  to  the  ETU.   Despite  its  dissolution,  the  ETU 
technically  remained  an  affiliate  of  the  Communist-dominated 
World  Federation  of  Trade  Unions  at  the  end  of  the  year. 

Workers  were  free  to  form  and  join  unions  of  their  own  choosing 
without  TG  authorization,  and  this  right  was  exercised 
extensively.   The  1975  Labor  Code  prohibited  discrimination 
against  union  members  by  management,  but  union  members  claimed 
that  occasional  harassment  continued.   By  October  approximately 



1,500  unions  existed  at  the  plant  and  factory  level.   These 
unions  were  free  of  state  interference,  but  the  new  political 
parties  especially  the  EPRDF  have  been  involved  in  the 
formation  of  some  unions.   In  the  absence  of  official 
guidelines,  TG  officials  have  been  tolerant  of  strikes  and 
protests  in  the  workplace.   Management  frequently  accused  the 
TG  of  being  over  indulgent  with  labor  demands.   In  one  such 
case,  EPRDF  troops  responded  to  charges  by  a  local  labor  union 
by  arresting  at  gunpoint  two  midlevel  managers  at  one  of  the 
capital's  leading  hotels;  they  remained  under  arrest  on  charges 
of  corruption  at  year's  end. 

Upon  taking  power  in  Eritrea,  the  EPLF  provisional  government 
similarly  dissolved  the  ETU  and  EPA.   On  September  15,  the  EPLF 
provisional  government  published  a  new  Labor  Code  which  accords 
workers  the  right  to  join  unions  of  their  choice  and  the  right 
to  strike.   Eritrean  courts  were  given  the  power  to  order 
workers  to  delay  strikes  for  50  days  pending  negotiations. 
Should  negotiations  fail,  unions  are  required  to  give  the  EPLF 
provisional  government  Labor  Department  a  further  7-day  notice 
before  any  strike.   There  were  no  strikes  in  Eritrea  in  1991. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

In  principle  the  Mengistu  government  accepted  international 
conventions  on  collective  bargaining  and  signed  hundreds  of 
individual  collective  bargaining  agreements  over  the  last 
decade.   In  practice,  collective  bargaining  did  not  exist; 
wages  were  set  by  the  government  in  the  public  sector  and  by 
employers  with  government  oversight  in  the  private  sector. 

The  1975  Labor  Code  includes  the  right  to  organize  and  bargain 
collectively.   Under  the  1975  Code,  wages  are  to  be  set  in 
negotiations  between  unions  and  management.   If  no  agreement 
can  be  reached,  a  disputes  committee  is  formed,  composed  of  two 
representatives  each  from  the  union  and  management  and  a 
committee  chairman  (usually  a  member  of  management).   If  an 
agreement  still  cannot  be  found,  the  dispute  goes  to  the 
Ministry  of  Labor  and  Social  Affairs  for  settlement.   Within  a 
month  of  taking  power,  the  TG's  Prime  Minister  announced  that 
all  collective  bargaining  agreements  negotiated  by  the  Mengistu 
government,  frozen  since  1990,  were  valid.   Given  the  condition 
of  the  economy,  there  were  no  wage  increases  in  state-owned 
enterprises  as  of  late  1991. 

In  Eritrea  the  EPLF  provisional  government's  new  Labor  Code 
published  in  mid-September  explicitly  recognized  collective 
bargaining  and  outlined  an  11-step  process  for  reaching 
agreements . 

There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  the  country. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Slavery  was  officially  abolished  in  Ethiopia  in  1942,  but  legal 
codes  did  not  address  the  issue  of  forced  or  compulsory  labor. 
Under  Mengistu 's  government,  citizens  were  sometimes  called  on 
to  perform  certain  civic  obligations,  including  "volunteer" 
assistance  in  community  work  projects.   In  factories,  workers 
were  also  expected  to  volunteer  extra  hours  at  no  pay  so  that 
production  quotas  could  be  met. 

The  TG's  National  Charter  adopted  in  July  proscribes  slavery 
and  involuntary  servitude.   Local  TG  officials  outside  of  Addis 
Ababa  continued  to  call  on  residents  to  volunteer  for 



uncompensated  community  work  projects,  such  as  road  building 
and  emergency  road  repair.   Industries  were  operating  at  less 
than  half  capacity  at  year's  end;  in  those  state-owned 
factories  still  functioning,  workers  were  still  sometimes 
compelled  by  factory  managers  to  "volunteer"  labor  in  order  to 
meet  quotas,  which  could  result  in  cash  bonuses. 

In  Eritrea  forced  and  compulsory  labor  was  barred  under  the 
EPLF  provisional  government's  new  Labor  Code  pxiblished  in 
mid-September.   However,  there  were  unconfirmed  reports  in  late 
1991  that  some  former  Mengistu  government  detainees  still  held 
in  Eritrea  without  charge  had  been  put  to  hard  labor. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

Under  the  1975  Labor  Code,  contract  employment  of  children 
under  the  age  of  14  is  prohibited.   Both  the  Mengistu 
government  and  the  new  TG  appeared  to  respect  this  restriction 
in  factories,  shops,  euid  among  domestic  worker's.   The  Ministry 
of  Labor  and  Social  Affairs  was  active  in  enforcing  these 
provisions  in  state-owned  enterprises.   Nevertheless,  underaged 
children  were  frequently  seen  peddling  and  begging  on  city 
streets  or  working  in  the  fields  in  rural  areas  throughout  the 
year . 

In  Eritrea  the  EPLF's  new  Labor  Code  published  in  mid-September 
raised  the  minimum  age  for  employment  to  18.   The  provisional 
government  has  also  made  education  compulsory  through  age  18. 
It  remains  to  be  seen  how  effectively  it  will  be  enforced. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  statutory  minimum  wage,  unchanged  since  1974,  remained  low 
and  woefully  insufficient  to  provide  a  decent  standard  of 
living  for  an  urban  worker  and  family.   On  the  other  hand,  only 
unskilled  day  laborers  usually  receive  such  a  low  wage.   In 
addition,  fringe  benefits  not  required  by  law  (transportation, 
meals,  clothing,  medical  care,  shelter)  raise  the  effective 
minimum  wage.   Low-paid  workers  often  supplement  their  income 
by  holding  multiple  jobs,  with  help  from  the  extended  family, 
and  through  subsistence  farming.   The  Ministry  of  Labor  and 
Social  Affairs  was  responsible  for  enforcing  compliance  under 
both  the  Mengistu  government  and  the  Transitional  Government. 

The  1975  Labor  Code,  observed  by  both  the  Mengistu  government 
and  the  TG,  establishes  an  8-hour  workday  and  a  48-hour 
workweek.   The  maximum  legal  workweek  appeared  to  be  respected 
in  practice  with  the  exception  of  previously  noted 
uncompensated  "volunteer"  labor  to  meet  factory  quotas.   The 
1975  Code  also  empowers  the  Ministry  of  Labor  and  Social 
Affairs  "to  determine  protective  devices"  and  to  advise  on  the 
health  and  safety  of  workers.   Compensation  for  occupational 
injuries  and  disabilities  is  mandatory.   The  Ministry's 
effectiveness  in  enforcing  health  and  safety  standards 
continues  to  be  hampered  by  lack  of  resources. 

In  Eritrea  the  EPLF  provisional  government's  new  Labor  Code 
published  in  mid-September  retains  many  provisions  of  the  1975 
Code,  including:   a  very  low  minimum  wage,  an  8-hour  workday 
and  48-hour  workweek,  and  stipulations  that  the  health  and 
safety  of  workers  be  safeguarded,  but  the  degree  of  enforcement 
is  unknown. 



Although  President  Omar  Bongo  has  ruled  Gabon  since  1967, 
having  been  reelected  three  times  in  uncontested  elections. 
Internal  pressures  beginning  in  late  1989  forced  him  to 
acquiesce  in  extensive  political  reforms.   In  1991  a  new 
Constitution  was  promulgated  which  includes  provisions  for  such 
basic  freedoms  as  movement,  association,  and  religion  and 
explicitly  abolishes  the  old  system  of  single  party  rule.   The 
new  multiparty  legislature,  which  resulted  from  elections  held 
during  the  last  months  of  1990,  grappled  with  the  many  legal 
ramifications  of  the  new  order,  including  complex  legislative 
initiatives  on  public  sector  employment  and  newly  created 
constitutional  bodies.   In  the  past,  the  National  Assembly  had 
no  real  power,  and  it  is  still  dominated  by  the  former  sole 
party,  the  Democratic  Party  of  Gabon  (PDG),  which  holds  a 
narrow  majority.   However,  the  newly  elected  Assembly  includes 
deputies  from  nine  political  parties  and  has  been  able  to 
confront  and  criticize  the  Government  on  some  issues,  e.g.,  in 
forcing  extensive  changes  in  spending  priorities.   The  new 
Constitution  limits  President  Bongo  to  one  more  5-year  term. 

The  armed  forces  comprise  approximately  4,000  array,  navy,  and 
air  force  personnel.   Responsibility  for  internal  security  is 
shared  by  the  gendarmerie,  a  paramilitary  force  of  2,700,  and 
the  national  police,  consisting  of  2,000  troops;  the  police 
work  with  the  gendarmerie  to  maintain  law  and  order  in 
Libreville,  Port  Gentil,  and  other  provincial  capitals.   The 
security  forces  use  beatings  as  part  of  the  interrogation 

Gabon's  relatively  high  per  capita  income  ($4,165  in  1991)  is 
based  largely  on  oil  revenues,  but  it  belies  the  underdeveloped 
nature  of  the  country  and  its  economy.   Although  endowed  with 
petroleum,  manganese,  uranium,  and  vast  timber  resources,  Gabon 
has  experienced  limited  agricultural  and  industrial  development 
and  imports  most  of  its  food  and  manufactured  goods .   Rain 
forests  cover  85  percent  of  the  country,  and  approximately 
two-thirds  of  the  populace  live  in  rural  areas.   Due  to  the 
precipitous  fall  in  revenue  from  oil  exports  in  the  late 
1980 's,  the  Government  has  imposed  austerity  measures  to  meet 
World  Bank  and  International  Monetary  Fund  program  criteria. 

Gabon  took  important  steps  toward  a  more  open  political  system 
in  1991.   With  the  move  toward  a  multiparty  political  system, 
restrictions  on  freedoms  of  speech,  press,  and  assembly  were 
considerably  relaxed.   Although  the  opposition  has  limited 
access  to  government  media,  especially  radio  and  television, 
there  is  a  lively  opposition  press,  consisting  of  a  half-dozen 
weekly  newspapers  which  are  often  highly  critical  of  the 
Government.   The  government-controlled  newspaper,  L' Union, 
generally  avoids  direct  criticism  of  the  Government  and  the 
President.   Despite  significant  progress,  some  human  rights 
problems  remain  with  regard  to  the  mistreatment  of  prisoners 
and  detainees,  including  the  heindling  of  illegal  aliens. 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  known  political  killings  or  summary  executions  in 



b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  knovm  cases  of  cibductions  or  disappearances 
ascribed  to  government  security  forces  or  any  other  group. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Gabonese  law  and  security  enforcement  officials  use  beatings 
and  torture  as  part  of  the  interrogation  process  of  detainees 
to  gain  confessions.   Prisoners  are  reportedly  forced  to  march 
on  their  knees  over  stones;  in  addition,  lawyers  who  have 
visited  prisons  report  hearing  cries  of  those  who  are  being 
beaten.   Prison  conditions  are  harsh,  and  the  main  facility. 
Central  Prison,  has  insufficient  food,  inadequate  medical 
facilities,  and  poor  sanitation.   As  a  result,  sickness  is 
common,  and  prisoners  have  died  because  they  had  no  one  to 
bring  them  needed  medicine.   Violence  among  prisoners — in 
particular,  homosexual  rape — is  also  a  problem. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Although  the  law,  based  on  French  jurisprudence,  provides 
procedural  protections  against  arbitrary  detention,  it  allows 
for  pretrial  detention  for  a  prolonged  period.   Security  forces 
disregard  the  procedures  concerning  arbitrary  detention, 
particularly  in  security  cases,  by  detaining  persons 
indefinitely  without  charge.   There  is  no  way  of  accurately 
determining  the  number  of  arbitrary  detentions  during  the  year, 
but  it  is  thought  to  be  as  many  as  several  dozen.   However,  no 
political  detainees  were  being  held  at  the  end  of  1991. 

Exile  is  not  used  as  a  means  of  political  control  nor  as  a 
sentence  for  convicted  criminals.   A  number  of  opposition 
figures  such  as  Pere  Mba  Abessole,  leader  of  the  Bucheron 
Party,  have  returned  in  recent  years.   The  only  remaining 
well-known  "exile"  is  Pierre  Mamboundou,  who  was  convicted  in 
absentia  for  involvement  in  one  of  the  coup  plots  uncovered  in 
late  1989  by  Gabonese  security  forces.   He  resides  in  Senegal. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  judicial  system,  modeled  on  that  of  the  French,  has  several 
levels.   The  trial  court  (Tribunal  de  Premier  Instance)  hears 
questions  of  fact  and  law  in  civil,  commercial,  ordinary 
criminal,  and  administrative  cases.   The  appellate  level  is 
divided  into  two  courts,  with  a  separate  appeals  court  for 
criminal  cases.   The  highest  level,  the  Supreme  Court,  has 
three  chambers,  and  the  former  fourth  chamber,  the 
Constitutional  Cheimber,  was  recast  as  an  independent  body  by 
the  1991  Constitution.   Outside  the  normal  court  system,  there 
is  a  military  tribunal  to  handle  all  offenses  under  military 
law;  a  State  Security  Court,  which  is  a  civilian  tribunal;  and 
a  special  criminal  court  which  deals  with  fraud  and 
embezzlement  of  public  funds  by  officials. 

The  right  to  a  fair  public  trial  is  provided  for  in  the 
Constitution  and  generally  has  been  respected  in  criminal 
cases,  but  procedural  safeguards  are  lacking  in  State  Security 
Court  trials.   In  this  Court,  trials  are  open  to  the  public, 
and  defendants  are  represented  by  counsel,  but  appeal 
procedures  to  the  Supreme  Court  are  restricted  to  raising 
points  of  law.   The  State  Security  Court  is  a  nonpermanent 
body,  called  into  existence  as  the  Government  determines  to 
hear  political  and  security  cases.   It  was  last  convoked  in 



1990  to  hear  the  coup  plot  cases  of  1989/1990.   Subsequently, 
in  response  to  clemency  appeals.  President  Bongo  twice  reduced 
the  sentences  of  those  convicted  in  those  trials,  but  none  had 
been  released  by  year's  end. 

Although  the  judiciary  is  susceptible  to  intervention  by  the 
executive,  particularly  in  political  or  security  cases,  there 
was  no  indication  that  such  intervention  occurred  in  1991. 
Reports  persist  that  there  were  still  some  political  prisoners 
held  at  the  end  of  1991,  but  these  have  not  been  confirmed. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

Search  warrants  may  be  obtained  after  the  fact  but,  as 
occasionally  happens  in  cases  of  suspected  illegal  aliens, 
sometimes  they  are  not  obtained  at  all.   There  were  credible 
reports  that  in  many  cases  the  homes  of  those  detained  were 
ransacked  by  security  forces  who  confiscated  personal  effects. 
The  Government  periodically  monitors  communications.   While  the 
former  ruling  party  does  not  compel  party  membership,  there 
have  been  reports  of  government  officials  being  fired  or 
transferred  for  membership  in  opposition  parties. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

With  the  move  toward  a  multiparty  system,  most  restrictions  on 
freedom  of  speech  and  press  have  been  eliminated.   While  direct 
public  criticism  of  the  President  previously  had  not  been 
permitted,  during  the  legislative  election  campaign  and  in 
subsequent  political  debates,  Gabonese  opposition  leaders 
criticized  the  President  directly  and  indirectly,  with  no 
retribution.   However,  opposition  leaders  also  complained  that 
the  state-controlled  media  did  not  provide  adecjuate  access  to 
opposition  parties. 

A  half-dozen  weekly  newspapers,  including  the  government -owned 
L' Union  and  a  range  of  nongovernment  papers,  continue  to 
circulate  in  the  capital.   The  President  has  encouraged 
journalists  to  point  out  failures  of  individual  government 
officials  or  ministries  and  to  highlight  inefficiency  and 
corruption.   In  1991  such  criticism  continued  and  grew  bolder, 
with  leading  opposition  papers  publishing  extensive  allegations 
of  financial  malfeasance  by  the  President  and  his  inner 
circle.   As  a  result  of  a  decision  by  Multipress,  the  publisher 
of  L'  Union  and  owner  of  the  country's  only  high-speed  rotary 
press,  to  demand  advance  payment,  several  papers  have  been 
obliged  to  print  in  Cameroon.   More  financially  solvent 
opposition  papers  are  printed  at  Multipress  without  any 
restrictions.   All  newspapers  circulate  freely  within  Gabon. 
The  established  media  carry  wire  service  material  (mostly 
Agence  France  Presse)  which  gives  the  public  some  coverage  of 
world  events.   There  were  no  instances  in  1991  when  foreign 
publications  were  banned. 

Academic  freedom  is  relatively  unrestricted.   A  professors' 
strike  over  \iniversity  mismanagement,  lack  of  funds  for 
research,  and  the  deteriorating  physical  plant  at  the 
university  campus  in  Libreville  brought  the  1990/91  academic 
year  to  a  premature  halt  and  contributed  to  the  fall  of  the 
second  Oye-Mba  Government;  security  forces  took  no  action 
against  the  strikers. 



b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  Government  grants  the  rights  of  freedom  of  assembly  and 
association  to  recognized  organizations,  including  74 
recognized  opposition  political  associations.   Permits  and 
notification  of  police  are  required  for  all  outdoor  meetings. 
The  Government  generally  permits  such  meetings  if  they  are 
organized  by  recognized  political  groups  or  their  ancillary 
units,  such  as  the  women's,  youth,  and  labor  movements; 
cultural  and  entertainment  impresarios;  or  recognized  church 
groups.   By  law,  unauthorized  demonstrations  are  not  permitted, 
but  tnere  were  numerous  unauthorized  demonstrations  in  1991  for 
which  organizers  and  participants  went  unpunished,  including  a 
major  May  Day  rally  staged  by  the  Rassemblement  National  des 
Bucherons  (generally  referred  to  as  the  Bucherons  party)  in 
defiance  of  an  explicit  government  ban. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

There  is  no  state  religion,  and  the  Constitution  provides  for 
religious  freedom.   Because  their  activities  were  considered  by 
the  Government  to  foster  disunity,  Jehovah's  Witnesses  and 
several  small  syncretistic  sects  were  banned  by  presidential 
decree  in  1970.   The  decree  was  renewed  in  1985.   As  recently 
as  1987,  the  courts  sentenced  24  Jehovah's  Witnesses  to  short 
or  suspended  terms  for  belonging  to  a  banned  organization.   The 
primary  faiths  are  Catholic  and  Protestant.   Muslims  (including 
President  Bongo)  constitute  less  than  5  percent  of  the 
population.   There  are  significant  niombers  of  adherents  to 
traditional  religions.   Foreign  missionaries  engage  actively  in 
evangelical  and  social  service  activities. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Movement  of  both  Gabonese  citizens  and  expatriates  within  the 
country  is  not  formally  restricted;  travelers  occasionally 
encounter  gendarmerie  control  points  where  identity  cards  and 
other  documents  are  examined.   Gabonese  citizens  may  return 
freely  from  abroad.   The  previous  requirement  for  Gabonese 
citizens  to  obtain  exit  permits  from  the  police  was  rescinded 
in  June,  but  government  employees  must  still  obtain  permission 
to  travel  abroad. 

There  are  approximately  200,000  non-Gabonese  residents  in 
Gabon,  many  of  whom  are  from  Equatorial  Guinea  or  Cameroon. 
Immigration  laws  and  presidential  decrees  promulgated  in  1986 
imposed  requirements  for  heavy  financial  guarantees  on 
non-French  and  non-American  expatriates  working  in  Gabon  and 
levied  exit  visa  fees  for  each  departure  from  the  country.   The 
gendarmerie  periodically  detain  undocumented  aliens  who  are 
then  placed  in  a  holding  camp  under  harsh  conditions.   Most  of 
the  detainees  are  released  after  paying  fines  or  bribes.   An 
increasing  number  of  illegal  immigrants  are  being  deported  to 
demonstrate  the  Government's  commitment  to  preserving 
employment  preferences  for  Gabonese. 

The  Government  encourages,  but  does  not  force,  "regroupment" 
(voluntary  consolidation  of  small  rural  communities  into  larger 
villages  along  a  road)  by  improving  the  delivery  of  public 
services  such  as  water,  electricity,  and  schooling  in  the 
larger  villages. 



Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

The  1991  Constitution,  promulgated  in  March  following  extensive 
National  Assembly  debate,  provides  formal  guarantees  of  this 
right,  including  the  right  to  organize  and  campaign  in  the 
political  arena.   There  are  now  a  wide  reinge  of  parties  and  a 
functioning  multiparty  National  Assembly. 

Nonetheless,  the  former  single  party,  the  Democratic  Party  of 
Gabon  (PDG) ,  remains  the  principal  political  party  in  Gabon, 
and  it  still  dominates  the  Government.   Its  leading  role  is  due 
to  its  established  strength  in  organization  and  infrastructure, 
to  its  close  ties  with  the  President,  formerly  the  Secretary 
General  of  the  PDG,  and  to  the  splintering  and  inexperience  of 
the  opposition.   There  have  been  continuing  opposition  charges 
of  ballot  rigging  by  the  Government  or  PDG,  but  the  1990 
irregularities  appeared  in  part  to  have  been  tied  to  the 
disorganized  election  process.   In  the  end,  the  PDG  managed  to 
retain  a  narrow  majority  in  the  final  makeup  of  the  National 
Assembly,  with  59  of  the  120  seats  going  to  PDG  members  and  3 
to  PDG  sympathizers.   The  remaining  58  seats  are  distributed 
among  eight  opposition  parties. 

President  Bongo  has  been  reelected  three  times  to  7-year  terms 
in  uncontested  elections,  most  recently  in  1986.   The  new 
Constitution  provides  for  a  limit  of  two  5-year  presidential 
terms.   The  National  Conference  of  1990  determined  that  for  the 
purpose  of  the  new  Constitution,  the  President's  current  term 
would  be  considered  his  first;  thus,  he  is  eligible  to  stand  in 
1993  for  a  final  term  and  is  widely  expected  to  do  so.   In 
sharp  contrast  to  the  past,  however,  several  candidates  have 
indicated  they  plan  to  run  against  President  Bongo. 

Under  Gabon's  nascent  parliamentary  system,  the  President's 
Prime  Minister  is  head  of  government  and  must  be  confirmed  by 
the  National  Assembly.   Since  the  National  Conference,  there 
have  been  three  governments,  each  under  the  Prime  Ministership 
of  Casimir  Oye-Mba,  but  with  different  ministerial  rosters. 
The  changes  occurred  when  Mr.  Oye-Mba  submitted  his 
Government's  resignation  in  response  to  public  pressure;  in  the 
first  instance,  the  completion  of  the  legislative  elections 
required  that  the  new  Government  reflect  the  power  balance 
resulting  from  the  controversial  first  round  of  elections.   In 
the  second,  a  boycott  of  the  legislature  by  much  of  the 
opposition  and  festering  problems  in  the  educational  sector 
forced  the  Government  to  seek  a  fresh  start. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Htunan  Rights 

A  number  of  local  human  rights  groups,  including  an  affiliate 
of  Amnesty  International,  operate  freely  in  the  country.   While 
their  actions  have  been  limited  by  inexperience  and  poor 
organization,  they  have  influenced  government  policy,  most 
notably  in  the  case  of  a  Moroccan  dissident  writer  expelled  by 
France  to  Gabon.   Local  rights  groups  published  communiques  in 
the  government-controlled  press  and  held  a  series  of  meetings 
with  President  Bongo  to  urge  him  to  ensure  the  Moroccan's 
personal  security  and  allow  him  full  liberty  of  movement. 
Since  June  the  Minister  of  Scientific  Research  has  been  charged 
with  human  rights  and  relations  with  the  legislature.   The 
Government  has  not  impeded  investigation  by  international  human 



rights  groups  or  blocked  the  activities  of  human  rights 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  1991  Constitution  forbids  discrimination  based  on  national 
origin,  race,  gender,  or  opinion.   Gabon's  relative  prosperity 
has  enabled  the  Government  to  extend  health  and  social  security 
benefits  to  all  its  people,  regardless  of  tribal  affiliation  or 
region.   There  were  no  significant  ethnic,  racial,  religious, 
or  social  groups  that  suffered  discrimination  in  1991. 

In  practice,  women  do  face  discrimination.   However,  government 
and  party  policies  are  supportive  of  expanding  opportunities 
for  women,  and  urban  women  in  particular  are  moving 
increasingly  into  the  professions,  taking  advantage  of  improved 
educational  opportunities,  including  access  to  technical 
training  institutions.   At  the  primary  school  level,  there  is 
universal  access  for  both  girls  and  boys.   However,  at  the 
secondary  level,  only  22  percent  of  females,  as  opposed  to  31 
percent  of  males,  are  enrolled  in  school. 

In  rural  Gabon,  women  still  fill  largely  traditional  roles 
built  around  family  and  village,  e.g.,  hauling  water,  tending 
fields.   The  gradual  introduction  of  piped-in  water  and  of 
electricity  has  had  the  effect  of  gradually  improving  living 
standards  for  rural  women.   Legal  rights  of  rural  women  are 
largely  governed  by  tribal  tradition,  while  in  the  urban 
sector,  women's  rights  are  patterned  on  French  law.   While  all 
women's  rights  are  protected  by  the  law,  traditional  practice, 
which  prevails  in  rural  areas,  assigns  most  of  the  hard  work — 
tending  fields,  preparing  meals,  child  care — to  women  while 
depriving  them  of  formal  authority  in  the  village  context. 

According  to  medical  practitioners,  violence  against  women, 
including  wife  beating,  occurs,  but  the  extent  of  the  problem 
is  not  known.   Incidents  of  violence  against  women  are  reported 
in  the  media  from  time  to  time  and  invariably  are  the  outgrowth 
of  domestic  disputes  or  are  related  to  violence  against 
prostitutes.   Cases  of  violence  against  women  rarely  come 
before  the  courts.   In  the  absence  of  statistics  on  the  number 
of  incidents  versus  the  number  of  court  cases,  this  observation 
is  based  on  the  relative  weight  given  cases  of  violence  against 
women  in  news  accounts.   Such  reports  uniformly  treat  these 
incidents  as  contemptible  vestiges  of  a  brutal  past.   Several 
women's  rights  groups  and  professional  associations  have  been 
formed  to  address  these  concerns . 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Under  the  new  Constitution,  the  former  monopoly  of  the 
government-sponsored  Labor  Confederation  of  Gabon  (COSYGA)  has 
been  abolished.   A  new  labor  code,  which  would  repeal  the  trade 
union  solidarity  tax  and  other  legislative  restrictions  on 
trade  union  pluralism,  is  in  the  drafting  stage  but  had  not 
been  presented  to  the  National  Assembly  by  year's  end. 

In  1991  the  trend  continued  toward  freely  formed,  primarily 
company-based  (as  opposed  to  industrywide)  unions,  which  have 
staged  wildcat  strikes  aimed  at  forcing  management  to  address 
concerns  of  pay,  benefits,  and  working  conditions. 



A  strike  at  the  government-run  printing  press  crippled  the 
print  media  for  2  weeks,  during  which  none  of  Gabon's 
newspapers  appeared  on  the  stands.   By  the  same  token,  strikes 
by  public  health  workers  and  primary  and  secondary  school 
teachers  forced  the  Government  to  make  significant  concessions 
on  construction  of  .new  facilities.   In  the  private  sector, 
wildcat  strikes  by  workers  in  state-run  and  other  companies 
have  resulted  in  pay  raises,  benefit  improvements,  and,  in  some 
cases,  replacement  of  unpopular  managers. 

Under  Gabonese  law,  strikes  are  illegal  if  they  occur  before 
compulsory  arbitration  remedies  prescribed  under  the  1978  Labor 
Code  have  been  exhausted,  but  the  Government  informed  the 
International  Labor  Organization  (ILO)  Conference  in  June  that 
a  draft  law  on  the  right  to  strike  has  been  examined  by  the 
Government  and  could  be  incorporated  in  the  revised  labor 
code.   None  of  the  strikers  in  the  cited  cases  was  the  object 
of  arrest  or  other  disciplinary  action.   COSYGA,  whose  future 
role  in  Gabonese  labor /management  relations  is  unclear  at 
present,  has  represented  Gabonese  workers  at  the  ILO  and  has 
maintained  limited  contacts  with  a  variety  of  national  trade 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Formally,  unions  in  each  sector  negotiate  with  management  over 
specific  pay  scales,  working  conditions,  and  benefits 
applicable  to  their  industry.   Agreements  reached  between  labor 
and  management  in  each  sector  also  apply  to  nonunion  and 
expatriate  labor.   According  to  the  Labor  Code,  workers  may 
individually  or  collectively  take  complaints  of  code  violations 
to  arbitration  and  may  appeal  to  labor  and  national  courts. 
Among  the  changes  in  the  labor  law  urged  by  the  ILO  is  a 
provision  protecting  workers  against  antiunion  discrimination. 
There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  Gabon. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor  is  prohibited  by  law  and  is  not  practiced, 
although  technical  violations  of  the  conventions  on  forced 
labor  have  been  criticized  by  the  ILO. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

No  one  below  the  age  of  16  may  work  without  the  authorization 
of  the  Ministries  of  Labor,  Public  Health,  and  Education,  which 
rigorously  enforce  this  provision.   Such  permission  is  granted 
rarely,  and  few  employees  in  the  modern  wage  sector  are  below 
the  age  of  18.   Children  at  younger  ages  are  involved  in 
traditional  family  farm  labor  in  rural  areas. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  1978  Labor  Code  and  the  1982  General  Convention  of  Labor 
govern  working  conditions  and  benefits  for  all  sectors.   Labor 
legislation  provides  broad  protection  to  workers. 
Representatives  of  labor,  management,  and  government  meet 
annually  to  agree  on  minimum  wage  rates,  which  are  determined 
within  guidelines  provided  by  the  Government.   The  Gabonese 
minimum  wage  is  determined  annually  pursuant  to  Articles  94  and 
95  of  the  Labor  Code  of  1978.   These  articles  designate  an 
interagency  group  to  study  the  status  of  the  economy  and 
recommend  a  minimum  wage  for  the  coming  year  to  the  President. 
The  President  then  issues  a  decree,  pursuant  to  Article  88  of 
the  Code,  setting  the  minimum  wage.   The  current  minimum  wc^e 



for  unskilled  labor  is  sufficient  to  provide  a  decent  living 
for  workers  and  their  families.   Work  over  40  hours  per  week 
must  be  compensated  with  overtime,  and  the  workweek  must 
include  a  minimum  rest  period  of  48  consecutive  hours. 

The  Labor  Code  provides  for  occupational  health  and  safety 
standards  to  be  established  by  decree  of  the  Minister  of 
Health.   Adherence  to  these  standards,  which  are  generally 
adapted  from  the  French  model,  varies  greatly  and  usually 
reflects  company  policy  rather  than  governmental  enforcement 
efforts.   Article  134  of  the  Labor  Code  assigns  enforcement  of 
its  health  and  safety  provisions  to  the  Office  of  the  Inspector 
of  Labor  (Inspecteur  du  Travail)  of  the  Ministry  of  Labor. 



The  Gambia  is  a  parliamentary  democracy  with  an  elected 
president  and  legislature.   Except  for  a  coup  attempt  in  1981, 
The  Gambia  has  had  a  history  of  political  stability  under  the 
leadership  of  its  only  President  since  independence  in  1965, 
Sir  Dawda  Jawara.   His  ruling  People's  Progressive  Party  (PPP) 
has  dominated  the  unicameral  Parliament,  but  several  opposition 
parties  participate  in  the  political  process,  including  two 
parties  formed  in  1986. 

The  Gambia  has  a  small  army  with  an  attached  naval  unit 
organized  and  trained  by  British  officers.   Its  gendarmerie 
forces,  formerly  headed  by  Senegalese  officers,  are  now  under 
the  control  of,  and  responsive  to,  Gambian  civilian  leadership. 

The  Gambia's  estimated  population  of  784,000  consists  largely 
of  subsistence  farmers  growing  rice  and  groundnuts  (peanuts), 
the  country's  primary  export  crop.   In  1991  The  Gambia 
continued  its  stringent  economic  reform  program  in  cooperation 
with  the  International  Monetary  Fund  and  the  World  Bank. 

The  Gambia  has  made  particular  efforts  to  promote  observance  of 
human  rights,  which  are  constitutionally  protected  and 
generally  observed  in  practice.   In  1991  the  death  of  a  person 
in  police  custody  led  to  a  swift  investigation,  arrests,  and 
trials  of  police  officials. 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reported  political  killings.   However,  on  August 
2,  a  longtime  Senegalese  resident  in  The  Gambia,  Momodou 
Jarjue,  was  detained  on  suspicion  of  theft  by  three  Criminal 
Investigation  Division  (CID)  officers  of  the  Gambian  police. 
According  to  witnesses,  the  CID  officers  beat  Jarjue 
continuously  through  the  night  and  denied  him  food,  water,  and 
medical  attention.   Jarjue  died  the  next  morning. 

The  police  immediately  began  an  investigation,  personally 
directed  by  the  Minister  of  the  Interior  and  the  new  Inspector 
General  of  Police,  and  the  three  CID  officers  were  detained  by 
the  Gambian  gendarmerie.   In  addition  officials  of  the  African 
Centre  for  Democracy  and  Human  Rights  Studies  conducted  an 
independent  investigation  of  the  incident  and  filed  their 
report  with  the  Attorney  General's  office.   Late  in  August  the 
police  completed  their  investigation,  and  subsequently  the 
Attorney  General  annoionced  that  the  three  CID  officers  would  be 
arraigned  before  the  Supreme  Court  and  charged  with  murder  and 
assault.   The  trial  began  on  October  1  and  was  continuing  at 
year's  end,  with  the  press  providing  full  coverage  of  the 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  disappearance. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  Constitution  prohibits  torture  and  other  cruel,  inhuman, 
and  degrading  punishment.   Except  for  the  Jarjue  case  (Section 



l.a.),  there  were  no  known  instances  of  torture  or  mistreatment 
of  detainees  in  1991. 

Prison  conditions  are  severe,  and  in  the  past  there  have  been 
occasional  reports  of  mistreatment  of  prisoners.   After  the 
death  of  several  inmates  in  1988  due  to  inadequate  diet,  a 
presidential  commission  on  prison  conditions  investigated  the 
occurrence  and  its  recommendations  led  to  prison  reforms. 
There  have  been  no  further  reports  of  such  incidents  since  the 
reforms.   The  Government  allows  prison  visits  by  local  Red 
Cross  representatives  and  by  close  family  members. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Based  on  British  legal  practice,  we 11 -developed  constitutional 
and  legal  procedures  govern  the  arrest,  detention,  and  trial  of 
persons  accused  of  crimes.  Under  these  procedures,  a  detained 
person  must  be  brought  to  trial  within  1  week  of  arrest.  This 
waiting  period,  however,  may  be  extended  twice,  making  21  days 
the  maximum  period  of  detention  before  trial.  In  fact,  due  to 
overcrowded  court  schedules,  the  detention  period  can  be  much 
longer . 

There  were  no  political  detainees  being  held  at  the  end  of 
1991.   There  are  some  self-exiled  opposition  elements  who  would 
be  arrested  for  suspected  involvement  in  the  1981  coup  attempt 
if  they  returned  to  The  Gambia,  e.g.,  the  alleged  leader  of  the 
plot,  Kukoi  Samba  Sanyang. 

In  February  President  Jawara  amnestied  the  last  35  people 
imprisoned  for  criminal  convictions  relating  to  the  1981  coup 
attempt.   Two  of  the  recipients  had  been  convicted  of  high 
treason  and  condemned  to  death. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

There  are  three  kinds  of  law  in  The  Gambia:   general,  Shari'a 
(Islamic),  and  customary  law.   Shari'a  law,  governing  Muslims, 
is  observed  in  marriage  and  divorce  proceedings.   Customary  law 
covers  marriage  and  divorce  for  non-Muslims,  inheritance,  land 
tenure  and  utilization,  local  tribal  government,  and  all  other 
traditional  civil  and  social  relations.   General  law,  based  on 
English  statutes  and  modified  to  suit  the  Gambian  context, 
governs  criminal  cases  and  trials  and  most  organized  business 
practices.   If  there  were  a  conflict  between  general  law  and 
Shari'a,  general  law  would  prevail. 

The  Constitution  provides  criminal  defendants  with  the 
traditional  rights  of  the  English  legal  system,  such  as 
presumption  of  innocence,  the  right  of  the  accused  to  be 
informed  promptly  of  the  charges,  and  the  right  to  a  public 
trial.   If  released  on  bail,  an  accused  person  may  face  charges 
indefinitely,  since  there  is  no  maximum  time  limit  for 
completing  the  investigation  and  bringing  the  case  to  trial. 
Appeals  normally  proceed  from  the  Supreme  (trial)  Court  to  the 
Court  of  Appeals,  the  country's  highest  tribunal. 

Judges  are  appointed  by  the  Government,  but  the  judiciary 
operates  independently  and  is  free  of  government  interference. 
Because  of  the  shortage  of  legal  professionals  in  The  Gambia, 
the  legal  system  is  staffed  in  part  by  judges  and  prosecuting 
and  defense  attorneys  from  other  English-speaking  countries 
having  the  same  basic  legal  system  as  The  Gambia. 



In  1988  a  journalist,  Sana  Manneh,  accused  four  cabinet 
ministers  of  corruption,  for  which  he  was  subsequently  tried  in 
Magistrate's  Court  on  charges  of  libeling  three  of  them.   In 
that  trial  he  was  acquitted  on  two  counts  and  convicted  of  the 
third.   The  Government  appealed  the  decision  to  the  Supreme 
Court,  which  overturned  the  acquittals.   Manneh  then  appealed 
to  the  Court  of  Appeal  (The  Gambia's  highest  court),  which, 
based  on  a  technicality,  reversed  the  Supreme  Court's  ruling  on 
December  5.   The  prosecution  failed  to  give  oral  notice  of  its 
intent  to  appeal  after  the  announcement  of  the  Magistrate 
Court's  judgment,  as  prescribed  by  Gambian  law. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

The  Constitution  provides  guarantees,  which  are  respected  in 
practice,  against  arbitrary  search  of  person  and  property.   It 
does  permit  a  search  to  which  a  suspect  submits  voluntarily  or 
if  it  is  reasonably  required  in  the  interest  of  national 
defense  or  public  welfare.   Under  the  Gambian  criminal  code, 
search  warrants  based  on  probable  cause  are  issued  by 
magistrates  upon  application  by  the  police.   The  code  also 
specifies  that  police  may  conduct  a  search  of  a  private 
residence  while  a  crime  is  in  progress.   There  are  a  few 
checkpoints  in  the  country  where  the  police  and  military 
periodically  stop  and  search  drivers  and  vehicles. 

The  rights  of  family  are  of  great  importance  in  The  Gambia's 
conservative  Muslim  society.   Marriage,  the  raising  of 
children,  and  religious  instruction  are  regulated  by  a 
combination  of  personal  preference  and  ethnic  and  religious 
tradition.   The  Government  does  not  normally  intrude  in  family 
matters.   There  is  no  effort  to  censor  or  control  personal 
correspondence  or  communications. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  speech  and  press. 
While  opposition  parties  have  been  relatively  inactive  since 
the  1987  elections,  members  freely  express  their  opinions  about 
the  Government  and  ruling  party. 

The  Government  does  not  attempt  to  censor  published  materials, 
whether  they  originate  within  or  outside  the  country.   In 
practical  terms.  The  Gambia,  with  its  small,  mainly  rural, 
largely  illiterate,  multilingual  population,  does  not  support 
an  active  press,  though  this  is  slowly  changing.   The 
Government  and  the  PPP  have  newspapers  which  are  published  on  a 
biweekly  or  monthly  basis. 

There  are  several  independent,  intermittently  published, 
mimeographed  newssheets  and,  more  recently,  one  monthly 
newsmagazine.   Both  the  opposition  and  the  independent  press 
are  openly  critical  of  the  Government.   There  is,  however,  some 
degree  of  self-censorship  in  the  government-owned  media,  which 
exercises  restraint  in  reporting  criticism  of  the  Government. 
During  the  Manneh  libel  trial.  Radio  Gambia  and  the  official 
press  ceased  coverage  after  the  first  week  of  the  trial. 

There  is  no  television  in  The  Gambia,  although  Senegalese 
broadcasts  can  be  received.   The  Government  dominates  the  media 
through  Radio  Gambia.   Two  commercial  radio  stations,  one  of 
which  opened  in  1991,  primarily  broadcast  music.   Foreign 



magazines  and  newspapers  are  available  in  The  capital.   There 
is  no  university  in  The  Gambia. 

During  1991,  Parliament  passed  the  National  Press  Council  Act, 
which  establishes  a  council  to  oversee  the  activities  of 
journalists.   The  Act  originated  in  response  to  journalists' 
requests  for  legislation  governing  press  affairs.   The  council 
will  be  required  to  prepare  a  code  of  conduct  and  will  have  the 
power  to  judge  journalists  with  respect  to  breaches  of  this 
code,  reprimand  them  if  the  council  rules  against  them,  and 
impose  fines.   While  the  President  assented  to  the  bill  on 
June  27,  it  has  not  been  published;  therefore  it  is  not  yet  law. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

In  general,  there  is  no  interference  with  the  freedom  of 
assembly  and  association  which  is  provided  for  in  the 
Constitution.   The  Government  almost  always  grants  permits  for 
peaceful  assembly  but  requires  that  these  meetings  be  open  to 
the  public.   Permits  for  assembly  are  issued  by  the  police  and 
are  not  denied  for  political  reasons.   The  permits  regulate 
times,  places,  use  of  loudspeakers,  and  the  authority  to  block 
traffic  for  a  parade.   The  only  banned  organization  in  the 
Gambia  is  the  Movement  for  Justice  in  Africa,  which  was 
suspected  of  involvement  in  the  1981  coup  attempt.   The  law  has 
been  amended  so  that  any  future  bans  would  be  by  judicial 
decision  rather  than  a  presidential  decree.   The  State  must  now 
apply  to  a  court  for  a  banning  order,  citing  specific  grounds 
for  the  request.  There  were  no  requests  to  ban  any 
organization  in  1991. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

The  constitutional  provisions  of  freedom  of  conscience, 
thought,  and  religion  are  observed  in  practice.   The  State  is 
secular,  although  Muslims  constitute  over  90  percent  of  the 
population.   The  schools  provide  instruction  in  the  Koran  for 
Muslim  students.   Christians,  both  Catholic  and  Protestant, 
freely  practice  their  religion.   There  is  a  small  Baha'i 
community  in  Banjul.   Missionaries  are  permitted  to  carry  on 
openly  and  freely  their  various  mission-related  activities. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  movement,  subject  to 
conditions  protecting  public  safety,  health,  and  morals.   There 
is  no  restriction  on  freedom  of  emigration  or  freedom  of 
return.   Because  of  historic  and  ethnic  ties  with  the 
inhabitants  of  Senegal,  Guinea-Bissau,  Mali,  Sierra  Leone,  and 
Mauritania,  people  tend  to  move  freely  across  borders,  which 
are  poorly  marked  and  difficult  to  police. 

The  population  of  Liberian  refugees  registered  in  The  Gambia 
increased  by  almost  150  percent  from  1990  to  1991.   At  the  end 
of  1991,  approximately  180  Liber ians  living  in  The  Gambia  were 
registered  with  the  United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for 
Refugees  (UNHCR) .   An  even  larger  number  are  unregistered.   The 
UNHCR  does  not  have  an  assistance  program  in  The  Gambia.   It 
has  transported  interested  Liberians  unable  to  receive  help 
through  family  or  friends  to  countries  where  UNHCR  relief 
programs  are  ongoing.   Since  the  settlement  of  the  Casamance 
insurgency  in  southern  Senegal,  many  of  the  Casamancais 
refugees  who  had  settled  in  The  Gambia  to  escape  the  turmoil 
have  begun  to  return  home.   While  there  were  a  reported  326 



Senegalese  refugees  in  The  Gambia,  the  number  could  well  have 
been  higher  during  the  conflict  given  the  fluid  movements 
across  The  Gambia-Senegal  border.   Senegalese  refugees  in  The 
Gambia  were  not  receiving  international  assistance. 

Late  in  1990,  a  human  rights  group  reported  that  the  Gambian 
authorities  had  forcibly  repatriated  10  Casamancais  (Senegalese 
nationals)  from  The  Gambia  to  Senegal.   The  group  claimed  that 
their  return  to  Senegal  placed  them  in  danger  of  torture  and 
death  at  the  hands  of  Senegalese  security  forces.  The 
Government  responded  that  the  Senegalese  in  question  had  not 
requested  asylum  in  The  Gambia  and  had  entered  the  country 
illegally,  so  they  were  deported  by  Gambian  immigration 
officials.   The  Government  stressed  that  it  was  well  aware  of 
its  obligations  under  the  Geneva  Convention  on  the  Status  of 
Refugees . 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  have  the  right  to  change  their  government  through 
peaceful  means.   The  President  and  the  Members  of  Parliament 
are  popularly  elected,  as  are  the  district  councils  and  the 
chiefs,  who  exercise  traditional  authority  in  the  villages  and 
compounds.   Presidential  and  parliamentary  elections  are  held 
every  5  years.   Citizens  must  be  at  least  18  years  of  age  to 
vote.   Balloting  is  secret,  and  measures  are  employed  to  assure 
that  illiterate  voters  understand  the  choices  and  voting 

A  functioning  multiparty  system  exists,  even  though  the 
People's  Progressive  Party  under  the  leadership  of  President 
Jawara  has  been  in  power  since  independence.   The  principal 
opposition  party,  the  National  Convention  Party  (NCP) ,  contests 
both  national  and  district  elections.   In  the  March  1987 
presidential  and  parliamentary  elections,  campaigning  was 
vigorous,  active,  and  open  to  all  parties.   The  ruling  PPP  won 
by  an  overwhelming  majority  and  now  holds  31  of  36  elective 
seats  in  the  Parliament.   The  NCP  was  the  only  opposition  party 
to  win  seats. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government  is  responsive  to  charges  of  human  rights 
violations  and  has  established  the  African  Centre  for  Democracy 
and  Human  Rights  Studies  to  promote  greater  respect  for  human 
rights  in  Africa  through  research  into  and  documentation  of 
human  rights  problems  and  through  workshops  and  conferences. 
It  permits  visits  of  international  human  rights  organizations 
to  observe  the  condition  of  detainees  and  the  trial  process. 
Early  in  1991,  the  United  Nations  Human  Rights  Commission 
(UNHRC)  made  a  routine  investigatory  stop  in  The  Gambia.   The 
Gambia  is  an  active  member  of  the  UNHRC  and  of  the  Organization 
of  African  Unity's  (OAU)  Commission  on  Human  and  Peoples' 
Rights.   It  took  the  initiative  in  persuading  the  OAU  to  locate 
the  OAU  Commission,  which  opened  in  June  1989,  in  Banjul.   In 
May  the  African  Centre  for  Democracy  and  Human  Rights  Studies 
hosted  a  human  rights  training  conference  for  upper  level 
magistrates  from  Francophone  African  countries. 



Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  Constitution  states  that  all  persons  in  The  Gambia  are 
entitled  to  "fundamental  rights  and  freedoms"  regardless  of 
"race,  place  of  origin,  political  opinions,  colour,  creed,  or 
sex."  There  is  no  officially  sanctioned  discrimination  based 
on  race,  sex,  religion,  language,  or  social  status.   The 
Gambian  population  is  overwhelmingly  Muslim  and  rural,  with  85 
percent  living  in  villages,  and  there  is  considerable  emphasis 
on  the  collective  aspects  of  rights  and  privileges.   There  is 
no  evidence  of  discrimination  in  employment,  education,  or  in 
other  areas  of  Gambian  life  on  religious  grounds. 

Traditional  views,  especially  about  the  role  of  women  in 
society,  are  changing,  but  very  slowly.   Marriages  are  still 
most  often  arranged,  and  Muslim  tradition  allows  for  polygamy. 
Women  are  disadvantaged  educationally,  with  females  comprising 
about  one-third  of  the  students  in  primary  school,  and 
one-quarter  of  the  high  school  students. 

Domestic  violence  occurs,  and  female  circumcision  is  practiced, 
reinforced  by  traditional  beliefs.   Until  recently,  the 
Government  has  been  passive  in  attempting  to  counter  these 
practices.   However,  the  Women's  Bureau  in  the  Office  of  the 
President  conducts  an  ongoing  campaign  in  both  the  rural  and 
urban  areas  to  make  women  aware  of  their  legal  rights  in 
respect  of  divorce  and  custody  of  children,  property  matters, 
and  in  cases  of  assault.   The  Bureau  holds  workshops  on  female 
circumcision  to  inform  women  of  its  negative  effects  and  to 
discuss  the  religious  and  traditional  ties  to  the  practice.   It 
also  publishes  a  quarterly  magazine  on  women's  issues,  which  it 
distributes  throughout  the  country.   The  Women's  Bureau 
conducted  a  study  in  1990  of  women's  rights,  including  specific 
(juestions  on  domestic  violence,  but  data  from  this  study  had 
not  been  released  by  the  end  of  1991. 

To  reinforce  the  efforts  of  the  Women's  Bureau,  the  World  Bank, 
in  conjunction  with  several  other  donors,  initiated  the  Women 
In  Development  project  in  October  1990.   This  project  will  run 
for  6  years  with  the  objective  of  improving  the  health  and 
income  generation  capacities  of  Gambian  women. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

In  October  1990,  the  Government  passed  the  Labor  Act  of  1990, 
the  first  labor  act  since  independence,  which  applies  to  all 
workers  except  civil  servants.   The  Act  specifies  that  workers 
are  free  to  form  associations,  including  trade  unions,  and 
provides  for  their  registration  with  the  Government.   Police 
officers  and  the  military  are  specifically  prohibited  from 
forming  unions  and  from  going  on  strike.   Members  of  the  civil 
service  can  neither  form  unions  nor  strike. 

The  Labor  Act  of  1990  authorizes  strikes,  but  it  specifies  that 
a  union  must  give  the  Commissioner  of  Labor  14  days'  written 
notice  before  beginning  an  industrial  action  (28  days  for 
essential  services).   Furthermore,  upon  application  by  an 
employer  to  the  Supreme  Court,  that  body  may  prohibit  an 
industrial  action  which  is  ruled  to  be  in  pursuit  of  a 
political  objective,  or  an  action  which  is  in  breach  of  a 
collectively  agreed  procedure  for  the  settlement  of  industrial 
disputes  that  has  not  been  exhausted.   Because  of  these 



provisions,  government  conciliation  efforts,  and  the  poor 
bargaining  strength  of  the  unions,  few  strikes  actually  occur. 
The  last  strike  was  that  of  the  Bakers'  Association  in  August 
1990,  which  demanded  (successfully)  an  increase  in  the 
controlled  price  of  bread. 

Less  than  20  percent  of  the  work  "force  is  engaged  in  the  modern 
wage  sector  of  the  economy,  where  unions  are  normally  active. 
The  Gambian  Workers'  Confederation  (GWC)  and  the  Gambian 
Workers  Union  (GWU)  are  the  two  main  independent  and  competing 
umbrella  organizations,  and  both  are  recognized  by,  and  have  a 
good  working  relationship  with,  the  Government.   Unions 
exercise  the  right  to  affiliate  internationally  and  there  are 
no  restrictions  on  workers'  ability  to  participate  in 
international  forums. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  Labor  Act  of  1990  provides  workers  the  right  to  organize 
and  bargain  collectively.   Although  trade  unions  are  small  and 
fragmented,  collective  bargaining  does  take  place.   The  Labor 
Department  registers  the  collective  bargaining  agreements 
reached  between  the  unions  and  management.   The  Act  also  sets 
minimum  standards  for  contracts  in  the  areas  of  hiring, 
training,  terms  of  employment,  wages,  and  termination  of 
employment.   The  Act  states  that  "any  term  of  a  contract  of 
employment  prohibiting  an  employee  from  becoming  or  remaining  a 
member  of  any  trade  union  or  other  organization  representing 
workers. . .shall  be  null  and  void."  Otherwise,  the  Government 
does  not  interfere  in  the  bargaining  process.   There  are  no 
export  processing  zones. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

The  Criminal  Code  prohibits  compulsory  labor,  and  it  is  not 
practiced  in  The  Gambia. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  official  minimvim  age  for  employment  is  18.   There  is  no 
compulsory  education  legislation  and,  because  of  the  paucity  of 
secondary  school  opportunities,  most  children  complete  their 
formal  education  by  age  14  and  informally  enter  the  work 
force.   The  Labor  Commissioner  is  charged  with  receiving 
employee  labor  cards,  which  include  a  person's  age,  but 
enforcement  inspections  rarely  take  place  for  lack  of  funding 
and  inspectors.   Control  of  child  labor  does  not  apply  to 
customary  chores  on  family  farms  or  street  trading. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

By  law  minimum  wages  and  hours  of  work  are  determined  by  joint 
industrial  councils  (commerce,  artisans,  transport,  the  port 
industry,  agriculture,  and  fisheries),  which  have 
representation  from  employees,  employers,  and  government. 
These  minimvim  wages  do  not  provide  for  a  decent  standard  of 
living.   Moreover,  only  20  percent  of  the  labor  force  is 
covered  by  minimum  wage  legislation,  the  remainder  being 
privately  employed,  chiefly  in  agriculture.   Most  Gambians  do 
not  live  on  one  worker's  earnings  and  rely  on  the  extended 
family  system,  usually  including  some  subsistence  farming. 

The  maximvmi  legal  workweek  is  48  hours  within  a  period  not  to 
exceed  6  consecutive  days.   Allowance  is  made  for  half-hour 
lunch  breaks.   For  the  private  sector,  there  are  four  8-hour 

50-726  -  92  -  6 



days  with  half  days  on  Fridays  and  Saturdays,  making  a  40-hour 
workweek.   Government  employees  are  entitled  to  1  month's  paid 
leave  after  1  year  of  service;  private  sector  employees  receive 
between  14  and  30  days  of  paid  annual  leave,  depending  on  their 
length  of  service. 

The  Labor  Act  provides  a  list  of  occupational  categories  and 
specifies  safety  equipment  that  an  employer  must  supply  to 
employees  working  in  these  categories.   Under  the  Factory  Act, 
the  Minister  of  Labor  is  given  authority  to  regulate  factory 
health  and  safety,  accident  prevention,  and  dangerous  trades 
and  to  appoint  inspectors  to  ensure  compliance.   However,  this 
system  is  less  than  fully  satisfactory  because  of  a  shortage  of 
inspectors . 



Ghana  is  governed  by  the  Provisional  National  Defense  Council 
(PNDC)  under  the  chairmanship  of  Flight  Lieutenant  Jerry  John 
Rawlings  who  seized  power  from  an  elected  government  on 
December  31,  1981,  and  suspended  the  Constitution.   Under  the 
establishment  proclamation  of  January  11,  1982,  the  PNDC 
exercises  "all  powers  of  government."   In  addition  to  Chairman 
Rawlings,  the  PNDC  consists  of  eight  members,  of  whom  two  are 
serving  military  officers  and  six  are  civilians.   The  executive 
consists  of  ministries  headed  by  secretaries,  who  together 
constitute  a  committee  of  secretaries,  chaired  by  a  PNDC 
member,  that  drafts  laws  for  referral  to  the  PNDC  for  final 
consideration  and  approval.   All  senior  national,  regional,  and 
district  officials  are  appointed  by  the  PNDC. 

In  1991,  facing  mounting  public  pressures  for  reform.  Chairman 
Rawlings  announced  various,  carefully  controlled  steps  in  the 
process  of  returning  the  country  to  constitutional  rule, 
including  the  lifting  of  the  ban  on  politics  following  a 
referendum  on  a  new  constitution.   These  steps  included  the 
formation  of  a  constitutional  drafting  committee,  which 
prepared  a  draft  document  by  the  end  of  July,  and  a 
Consultative  Assembly  composed  of  260  members  to  debate  and 
redraft  a  new  constitution,  a  task  it  was  unable  to  finish  by 
December  31.   At  year's  end,  the  PNDC  announced  that  the 
constitutional  referendum  would  still  be  held  in  April  1992  and 
that  presidential  and  parliamentary  elections,  to  which 
international  observers  would  be  invited,  would  take  place 
before  the  end  of  1992. 

The  several  security  organizations  report  to  various 
departments  of  government,  but  all  come  under  the  control  of 
the  PNDC.   Most  security  cases  of  a  political  nature  are 
handled  by  the  Bureau  of  National  Investigation  (BNI).   All 
security  agencies  report  to  the  PNDC  member  for  foreign  affairs 
and  national  security.   There  have  been  occasional  instances  of 
police  brutality. 

Although  Ghana  is  attempting  to  rebuild  its  industrial  base 
after  years  of  economic  mismanagement,  more  than  60  percent  of 
the  population  still  draws  its  livelihood  from  agriculture. 
Cocoa  and  cocoa  products  provide  more  than  half  of  export 
revenues.   Gold,  timber,  and  diamonds  are  also  produced  and 
exported.   Annual  economic  growth  has  averaged  5  to  6  percent 
since  the  inception  of  an  economic  recovery  program  in  1983. 

Human  rights  remained  circumscribed  in  Ghana,  but  the  situation 
improved  in  1991,  with  Ghanaians  speaking  out  on  political 
issues  as  never  before  under  the  PNDC.   The  fragility  of  this 
progress  was  demonstrated  by  the  arrests  late  in  1991  of 
several  opposition  leaders  for  expressing  their  opinions. 
Independent  newspapers  became  outspokenly  critical  of  the  PNDC, 
and  government  opponents  voiced  their  opinions  in  seminars, 
press  conferences,  speeches,  and  press  releases.   Various 
social  and  "public  interest"  organizations  fronting  for  the 
still  banned  political  parties  sprang  up  during  the  year.   They 
expressed  dissatisfaction  with  the  PNDC's  control  over  the 
reform  process.   In  September  they  formed,  with  the  Movement 
for  Freedom  and  Justice  (MFJ) ,  the  Coordinating  Committee  of 
Democratic  Forces  (CCDF)  to  issue  statements  on  behalf  of  all 
opposition  groups.   However,  there  continued  to  be  restrictions 
on  such  basic  rights  as  freedom  of  speech,  press,  assembly,  and 
religion;  the  right  of  citizens  to  change  their  government;  and 
legal  due  process.   Summary  arrest  and  detention  were 



continuing  problems,  with  many  instances  of  incarceration 
without  formal  charges . 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  politically  motivated  or  other 
extrajudicial  killings. 

b.  Disappearance 

Similarly,  no  politically  motivated  disappearances  were 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

There  were  occasional  credible  reports  of  mistreatment  of 
prisoners,  such  as  keeping  them  in  isolation  for  long  periods 
and  in  dark,  small  cells  without  clothes  or  proper  beds. 
Prisons  in  Ghana  are  antiquated  and  seriously  overcrowded,  and 
conditions  are  harsh.   From  time  to  time,  the  PNDC  has  commuted 
the  sentences  of  ill  or  aged  prisoners.   The  most  recent 
example  was  in  January  1992  when  the  PNDC  granted  amnesty  to 
roughly  1,000  prisoners. 

There  are  occasional  reports  of  excessive  police  force, 
especially  during  arrests.   In  May  a  demonstrator  calling  for 
the  resignation  of  the  PNDC  was  allegedly  beaten  by  police.   In 
December  an  opposition  leader  was  arrested  for  allegedly  coming 
to  his  feet  tardily  during  the  playing  of  the  national  anthem 
and  entrance  of  the  paramount  chief.   He  was  "drilled"  twice  a 
day  in  how  to  show  respect  for  the  flag  and  reportedly  had  his 
head  shaved  with  a  broken  bottle,  although  upon  his  release  he 
denied  being  tortured. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  Criminal  Code  provides  minimal  legal  protection  against 
arbitrary  arrest  and  detention.   Although  accused  persons  have 
the  right  to  be  charged  formally  within  48  hours  of  detention, 
the  court  can  set  excessive  bail  or  refuse  to  release  persons 
on  bail  and  instead  remand  them  without  charge  for  an 
indefinite  period,  subject  to  weekly  review  by  judicial 
authorities.   The  only  crimes  for  which,  by  statute,  there  is 
no  bail  are  murder  and  subversion.   PNDC  Law  4  (preventive 
custody  law  of  1982)  provides  for  indefinite  detention  without 
trial  if  the  PNDC  determines  it  is  in  the  interest  of  national 
security.   A  1984  law  prevents  any  judicial  inquiry  into  the 
grounds  for  detention  under  PNDC  Law  4.   Ghanaian  security 
forces  occasionally  take  persons  into  custody,  with  or  without 
warrants,  and  hold  them  incommunicado  for  extended  periods  of 
time,  with  no  legal  recourse  available  to  the  detainee.   The 
threat  of  such  treatment  serves  as  a  deterrent  to  political  or 
other  opposition  activities. 

Businessmen  suspected  of  illegal  activities  have  been  arrested 
and  incarcerated  while  the  Government  undertook 
investigations.   Lebanese  and  other  resident  foreign 
businessmen  have  been  jailed  and  held  for  extended  periods 
without  formal  charges  and  without  trial.   In  some  cases. 



incarcerated  businessmen  have  been  released  without  any  trial 
after  paying  a  sum,  informally  deemed  to  be  a  suitable 
reparation,  to  the  National  Investigation  Committee.   In  1990  a 
naturalized  American  citizen  of  Ghanaian  origin  was  held 
without  charge  and  eventually  released  in  August  1991  after 
repeated  high-level  U.S.  representations. 

The  exact  number  of  long-term  political  prisoners  and  detainees 
at  the  end  of  1991  was  unknown;  the  best  estimates  indicate  50 
to  90.   The  Movement  for  Freedom  and  Justice  (MFJ),  a  movement 
organized  to  provide  a  forum  for  the  banned  political  parties 
to  present  their  views  on  the  return  to  constitutional  rule  and 
human  rights  issues,  and  several  international  human  rights 
groups  published  lists  during  1991.   The  MFJ  claims  that  there 
are  others  in  detention  whose  names  it  does  not  know.   The  PNDC 
often  detains  for  several  months  Ghanaians  who  have  been 
repatriated  to  Ghana  after  having  been  denied  political  asylum 
in  Western  countries.   In  addition,  persons  are  regularly 
detained  for  a  few  days  to  a  few  weeks  for  a  variety  of  reasons 
and  then  released. 

It  is  difficult  to  determine  how  many  of  the  50  to  90  long-term 
detainees  are  political  detainees.   The  Government  claims  that 
28  are  held  on  criminal  charges  and  36  in  connection  with  coup 
attempts.   All  of  them  have  been,  and  are  being,  denied  the 
right  to  a  speedy,  fair,  and  public  trial.   The  Government 
gives  no  indication  that  it  is  prepared  to  bring  them  to  trial. 

The  Government  does  not  practice  forced  exile.   In  July  it 
offered  limited  amnesty  to  voluntary  exiles,  excluding  those 
convicted  of  any  criminal  offense,  wanted  by  the  police  for  a 
criminal  offense,  or  under  sentence  of  death  by  any  court  or 
tribunal  in  Ghana.   In  recent  years,  the  PNDC  has  also  quietly 
encouraged  Ghanaians,  including  dissidents,  with  valuable 
skills  who  are  living  abroad  to  return;  in  some  cases,  the 
Government  has  offered  amnesty.   Some  former  government  and 
PNDC  officials  have  returned  and  resumed  careers  outside 
politics,  apparently  without  difficulties. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Three  court  systems  exist  in  Ghana.   In  the  "prerevolutionary" 
court  system,  traditional  legal  safeguards  are  based  on  British 
legal  practices.   Trials  are  public,  and  defendants  have  a 
right  to  be  present,  to  be  represented  by  an  attorney,  and  to 
present  evidence  and  cross-examine  witnesses.   This  system 
includes  high  courts,  appeals  courts,  and  the  Supreme  Court 
headed  by  a  Chief  Justice.   There  are  limitations,  however,  in 
the  independence  of  these  courts.   In  the  past,  the  PNDC  has 
summarily  dismissed  judges,  thereby  warning  them  that  they 
serve  at  the  PNDC's  sufferance.   In  1989  the  Government 
reconstituted  the  judicial  council  but  confined  it  to  an 
advisory  role  for  judicial  appointments  and  disciplinary 
matters.   The  judiciary  is  still  not  independent. 

A  separate  public  tribunal  system  at  the  national  and  regional 
levels  was  set  up  by  the  PNDC  in  1982  to  bypass  the  regular 
court  system  and  speed  up  the  judicial  process  by  restricting 
the  procedural  rights  of  defendants.   The  public  tribunals 
depend  largely  on  judges  with  little  or  no  legal  experience, 
and  they  shortcut  legal  safeguards  and  due  process  to  provide 
"rough  and  ready"  decisions,  particularly  in  criminal  cases. 
This  system  includes  the  Office  of  Revenue  Commissioners,  the 
National  Investigations  Committee  (which,  established  by  PNDC 
Law  2,  has  the  power  to  investigate  virtually  any  allegation 



referred  to  it  by  the  PNDC) ,  the  Special  Military  Tribunal,  and 
the  Public  Tribunals  Board. 

The  PNDC  normally  avoids  bringing  political  and  security  cases 
to  trial,  preferring  to  keep  suspected  opponents  in  indefinite 
detention.   However,  if  cases  come  to  trial,  they  are  heard  by 
public  tribunals.   PNDC  Law  24  empowers  public  tribunals  to 
impose  the  death  penalty  for  any  crime  specified  a  capital 
offense  by  the  PNDC  or  if  the  tribunal  determines  that  it  is 
merited  in  a  particular  case,  even  if  the  crime  is  not 
punishable  by  the  death  penalty  under  regular  statutes.   There 
are  no  known  instances  of  this  law  being  used.   No  appeals  were 
permitted  until  1985,  when  the  National  Appeals  Tribunal  was 
created.   The  Ghana  Bar  Association  has  elected  not  to  practice 
before  the  public  tribunals  and  currently  has  a  court  case 
pending  which  hinges  on  its  opposition  to  the  tribunals. 

The  Chieftaincy  Act  of  1971  gives  the  village  and  other 
traditional  chiefs  powers  in  local  matters,  including  authority 
to  enforce  customary  tribal  laws  on  such  matters  as  divorce, 
child-custody,  and  property  disputes. 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

Citizens  engaged  in  activity  deemed  objectionable  by  the 
Government  are  subject  to  interference  with  regatd  to  private 
conduct,  including  monitoring  of  telephones  and  mail.   There  is 
no  recourse  if  a  government  agency  wiretaps  or  interferes  with 
private  correspondence.   In  past  years,  forced  entry  into  homes 
has  been  reported  in  connection  with  security  investigations. 

In  1990  the  PNDC  began  redefining  the  role  of  the  local 
Committees  for  the  Defense  of  the  Revolution  (CDR's),  which 
previously  functioned  as  neighborhood  watch  committees  and 
reported  individual  political  behavior  to  the  Government. 
Various  PNDC  officials  have  called  on  the  CDR's  and  the  Civil 
Defense  Organizations  (CDO's)  to  exercise  restraint  during  the 
transition  to  constitutional  rule.   However,  there  continue  to 
be  credible  reports  of  CDR  interference  in  private  and  tribal 
matters . 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Freedom  of  speech  and  the  press  remain  restricted  by  certain 
laws.   However,  the  PNDC  has  allowed  a  considerable  relaxation 
in  the  enforcement  of  these  laws.   Several  newspapers  have 
sprung  up  and  these,  plus  some  established  independent  papers, 
have  been  outspoken  in  their  criticism  of  the  PNDC.   Also, 
organizations  such  as  the  Ghana  Bar  Association,  the  MFJ,  the 
Trade  Union  Congress  (TUC),  the  National  Union  of  Ghanaian 
Students  (NUGS),  and  others  have  been  equally  outspoken  in 
their  criticism  of  the  Government.   However,  arrests  late  in 
the  year  of  a  newspaper  editor  and  two  opposition  figures 
showed  that  there  are  still  limits  on  freedom  of  expression. 

The  Government  owns  the  radio  and  television  stations  and  the 
two  principal  daily  newspapers.   Reporting  in  the  official 
media  accentuates  the  positive  aspects  of  government  policies 
but  also  covers  selected  instances  of  corruption  and 
mismanagement  in  government  agencies  and  state-owned 
enterprises.   In  general,  the  government-owned  media  do  not 
carry  criticism  of  government  policies  or  of  Chairman  Rawlings 



and  PNDC  members.   They  also  do  not  cover  the  opposition.   In 
recent  months,  the  official  media  have  opened  up  somewhat,  and 
a  wider  range  of  opinion  is  now  available.   Journalists  are 
occasionally  subject  to  discipline  or  dismissal  by  the 
Government  for  publishing  articles  deemed  unacceptable.   As  a 
result,  self-censorship  is  a  pattern  in  the  official  media,  and 
writers,  editors,  and  commentators  rarely  cross  the  boundary  of 
acceptable  reporting  and  commentary. 

Foreign  periodicals  such  as  West  Africa,  Time,  and  Newsweek  are 
sold  in  Accra  and  other  major  cities;  even  issues  containing 
articles  critical  of  Ghana's  Government  circulate  freely.   Most 
Western  journalists  are  routinely  accorded  visas  and  press 
credentials  as  opposed  to  the  practices  of  a  few  years  ago. 

Although  in  principle  the  university  campuses  are  subject  to 
many  of  the  same  prohibitions  on  political  expression  as  apply 
to  the  society  in  general,  the  PNDC  has  not  suppressed  academic 
freedom.   The  NUGS,  one  of  the  more  vocal  critics  of  the  PNDC, 
is  tolerated  and  allowed  to  organize  and  hold  meetings.   There 
have  been  several  student  demonstrations  critical  of  the  PNDC, 
but  the  Government  has  not  taken  any  action  against  the  student 
groups . 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Freedom  of  assembly  and  association  is  restricted.   People 
generally  are  free  to  join  together  formally  or  informally  to 
promote  benevolent  or  nonpolitical  causes,  but  permits  are 
required  for  public  meetings  or  demonstrations,  and  these  are 
seldom  granted  for  political  purposes,  particularly  if  the 
applicant's  views  are  at  odds  with  those  of  the  Government. 
The  MFJ  and  the  CCDF  have  repeatedly  been  denied  permits  to 
hold  rallies. 

Political  parties  and  political  meetings  are  prohibited.   The 
Government  barred  persons  with  close  ties  to  the  old  parties 
from  running  as  candidates  for  election  to  the  district 
assemblies  in  1988-89.   Chairman  Rawlings  has  said  that  the  ban 
on  political  parties  cannot  be  lifted  until  the  Consultative 
Assembly  has  determined  what  organization  will  oversee  the 
electoral  process,  the  procedures  for  registration  of  parties, 
and  the  regulations  regarding  their  activities.   The 
Consultative  Assembly  was  unable  to  complete  its  work  by  the 
end  of  the  year,  as  scheduled,  and  is  now  expected  to  finish  by 
February  or  March  1992.   In  a  speech  opening  the  Consultative 
Assembly  in  August,  Chairman  Rawlings  indicated  that 
legislation  lifting  the  ban  on  political  parties  and  activities 
will  be  adopted  within  2  weeks  after  the  constitutional 
referendum.   In  anticipation  of  open  politics,  a  number  of 
clubs  and  societies  have  sprung  up  that  have  close  ties  to  the 
two  former  major  parties  and  that  freely  discuss  political 
issues  and  often  criticize  the  PNDC. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

There  is  no  state-favored  religion.   Ghanaians  are 
predominantly  Christian,  and  Christians  of  all  sects  as  well  as 
Muslims  are  well  represented  at  all  levels  of  government. 
There  are  no  apparent  advantages  or  disadvantages  attached  to 
membership  in  any  particular  sect  or  religion. 

PNDC  efforts  to  urge  the  major  religious  communities  to  support 
its  economic  and  social  policies  have  created  tensions. 
Chairman  Rawlings  publicly  criticized  the  Roman  Catholic  Church 



for  prohibiting  its  priests  from  participating  in  the  district 
assemblies.   The  PNDC  has  also  been  sensitive  to  criticism  of 
Ghana's  human  rights  record  by  leaders  of  various  denominations. 

PNDC  Law  221  of  Jvine  1989  rec[uired  all  religious  organizations 
to  register  with  the  religious  affairs  committee  of  the 
National  Commission  on  Culture.   The  Commission  was  granted 
authority  to  deny  registration  and  the  right  to  worship 
publicly  to  any  religious  group  whose  actions,  it  concluded, 
would  lead  to  social  disruption  or  offend  the  morals  of  the 
people.   The  Government  received  some  11,000  applications  from 
various  churches  wishing  to  register.   However,  the  Roman 
Catholic  Church  and  the  14  mainline  Protestant  churches  which 
belong  to  the  Christian  Council  have  refused  to  register  on 
grounds  that  the  law  infringed  on  freedom  of  religion.   The 
Government  has  made  no  effort  to  enforce  that  law,  and  those 
religious  bodies  that  refused  to  register  continue  to  worship 
freely.   In  1991  the  PNDC  suspended  this  religious  registration 
law  while  it  conducted  discussions  with  the  Catholic 
Secretariat  and  the  Protestant  Christian  Council. 

Also  in  June  1989,  the  Government  "froze"  the  assets  of  four 
churches,  two  indigenous  Christian  churches  plus  the  Jehovah's 
Witnesses  and  the  Church  of  Jesus  Christ  of  Latter-day  Saints 
(Mormons),  and  expelled  their  foreign  personnel.   The 
indigenous  churches  had  often  been  accused  of  promoting 
practices  offensive  to  the  general  community;  the  Jehovah's 
Witness  community  was  accused  of  not  showing  proper  respect  for 
the  symbols  of  Ghana's  Government,  and  the  Mormons  were  accused 
of  practicing  racism.   On  November  30,  1990,  the  Government 
rescinded  the  prohibition  on  the  Mormons.   The  Government  met 
with  the  Jehovah's  Witnesses  in  July  1991  and  in  November 
unfroze  the  church's  assets  and  allowed  it  to  resume  public 

Other  foreign  missionary  groups  have  generally  operated 
throughout  the  country  with  a  minimum  of  formal  restrictions. 
Some  churches  have  had  difficulty  obtaining  visas  and  residence 
permits  for  some  of  their  expatriate  missionaries. 

d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Ghanaians  and  foreigners  are  free  to  move  throughout  Ghana 
without  special  permission.   Police  checkpoints  exist 
countrywide  for  the  prevention  of  smuggling.   Roadblocks  and 
car  searches  are  a  normal  part  of  nighttime  travel  in  Accra. 

As  members  of  the  Economic  Community  of  West  African  States, 
Ghanaians  may  travel  without  visas  for  up  to  90  days  in  member 
states.   Ghanaians  are  generally  free  to  exercise  this  right, 
and  nationals  of  other  member  states  are  free  to  travel  to 
Ghana.   Ghanaians  are  also  free  to  emigrate  or  to  be 
repatriated  from  other  countries. 

In  what  appeared  to  be  deliberate  harassment,  the  deputy 
national  secretary  of  the  MFJ,  upon  his  return  from  a  trip 
abroad,  was  interrogated  for  several  hours,  searched,  and  had 
some  of  his  possessions  confiscated.   He  was  told  to  report  to 
the  Bureau  of  National  Investigation,  the  ecpaivalent  of  the  U. 
S.  Federal  Bureau  of  Investigation,  the  next  day.   When  he  did 
so,  his  possessions  were  returned,  and  he  received  an  apology. 

Since  the  last  half  of  1990,  Ghana  has  been  faced  with  a 
growing  refugee  population.   Liberians  fleeing  civil  war  began 



to  arrive  in  August  1990.   By  November  1990,  Ghana  was  hosting 
some  8,000  Liber ian  refugees.   Most  of  the  new  refugee 
population,  as  well  as  many  transiting  third-country  nationals 
who  also  fled  Liberia,  were  housed  in  a  United  Nations  High 
Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR)  and  government-assisted  camp 
20  kilometers  outside  of  Accra.   An  undetermined  number  of 
refugees  have  spontaneously  returned  to  Liberia  since  then.   By 
August  1991,  the  estimated  camp  population  was  3,000  to  4,000. 
In  addition,  over  15,000  Ghanaians  who  resided  in  Liberia 
returned  to  their  home  villages  in  Ghana,  often  imposing  great 
strain  on  government  social  services.   Prior  to  the  influx  of 
Liber ians,  Ghana  was  hosting  approximately  150  refugees 
registered  with  the  UNHCR. 

In  December  1991,  some  1,500  to  2,000  Togolese  fled 
disturbances  in  Lome  and  entered  Ghana.   However,  by  the  end  of 
the  year  most  had  voluntarily  returned  to  Togo. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  do  not  have  this  right.   Chairman  Rawlings  and  the 
PNDC  exercise  total  executive,  legislative,  and  administrative 
power.   However,  in  January  Chairman  Rawlings  announced  that 
the  PNDC  had  entered  its  last  phase,  and  the  country  would  have 
a  new  constitution  by  the  end  of  the  year.   In  August,  at  the 
inauguration  of  the  Consultative  Assembly,  he  announced  that  if 
the  Assembly  finished  its  work  in  debating  and  preparing  a  new 
constitution  by  December  31,  the  constitutional  referendum 
would  be  held  in  February  or  March. 

The  Consultative  Assembly,  composed  of  260  members — 117  elected 
by  the  district  assemblies,  121  elected  by  organizations,  and 
22  appointed  by  the  PNDC — was  not  able  to  complete  its  work  by 
year's  end,  in  part  due  to  administrative  problems  and  the  need 
for  Assembly  members  to  consult  with  constituents.   As  a 
result,  the  referendum  was  rescheduled  for  April  to  be  followed 
2  weeks  later  by  the  lifting  of  the  ban  on  political  parties. 
According  to  the  PNDC  timetable,  presidential  and  parliamentary 
elections  would  still  be  held  by  the  end  of  1992,  with 
international  observers  invited  to  attend. 

A  key  step  in  1991  was  the  passage  of  a  law  establishing  an 
independent  electoral  commission  to  replace  the  PNDC-controlled 
National  Commission  on  Democracy.   The  law  established  the 
requisite  de  jure  independence  for  the  commission;  however,  it 
remains  to  be  seen  whether  the  PNDC  will  appoint  commissioners 
of  the  necessary  stature,  integrity,  and  neutrality  to  provide 
de  facto  independence. 

There  has  been  heavy  criticism  of  the  PNDC  control  over  the 
transition  process,  including  its  method  of  selecting  members 
for  the  Consultative  Assembly,  e.g.,  allegedly  for  favoring 
groups  with  PNDC  sympathies.   However,  the  Assembly  seems  to  be 
operating  as  an  independent  body,  and  the  PNDC  has  made  no 
effort  to  influence  its  deliberations,  even  when  the  Assembly 
challenges  established  PNDC  policy. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

An  organization  called  the  Ghana  Committee  on  Human  and 
People's  Rights  was  formed  in  October.   Several  other 
organizations — most  notably  the  Ghana  Bar  Association  and  the 



MFJ — have  attempted  to  address  human  rights  issues  from  time  to 
time.   The  Government's  reactions  to  these  efforts  have  ranged 
from  indifference  to  active  discouragement.   In  1991  the  PNDC 
invited  Amnesty  International  (AI)  to  visit  Ghana  to  discuss 
alleged  inaccuracies  in  an  AI  report.   The  Government  permits 
prison  visits  by  the  International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Although  ethnic  differences  are  intentionally  played  dovm  by 
the  Government,  opponents  of  the  PNDC  occasionally  complain 
that  the  PNDC  and  the  political  leadership  are  dominated  by  the 
Ewe  ethnic  group  from  eastern  Ghana.   Chairman  Rawlings  and  a 
number  of  his  close  advisors  are  Ewe,  but  many  PNDC  members  and 
secretaries  are  from  other  ethnic  groups. 

The  Government  has  made  concerted  efforts  to  raise  the  status 
of  women,  but  Ghanaian  women  remain  subject  to  some  forms  of 
societal  discrimination.   In  1985  the  PNDC  promulgated  four 
laws  which  overturned  many  of  the  customary,  traditional,  and 
colonial  laws  which  discriminated  against  women.   These 
concerned  family  accountability,  intestate  succession, 
customary  divorce  registrations,  and  the  administration  of 
estates.   Women  in  urban  centers  and  those  who  have  entered  the 
modern  sector  encounter  little  overt  bias,  but  resistance  to 
women  in  nontraditional  roles  persists.   Women  in  the  rural 
agricultural  sector  remain  subject  to  traditional  male 
dominance  and  heavy  field  labor.   Statistics  show  a  50/50 
percent  male/female  ratio  in  enrollments  in  grade  1,  dropping 
to  66/34  percent  by  grade  6,  80/20  percent  at  secondary  level, 
and  a  90/10  percent  at  university  level. 

Violence  against  women,  including  wife  beating,  occurs,  but,  as 
there  are  no  statistics  or  studies  available,  the  extent  of  the 
problem  is  unknown.   Police  do  not  normally  intervene  in 
domestic  disputes,  and  such  cases  seldom  come  before  the 
courts.   The  Government  has  not  addressed  the  issue  of  violence 
against  women,  but  it  strongly  discourages  the  practice  of 
female  circumcision,  although  it  has  not  made  it  illegal. 
Female  mutilation  (e.g.,  clitor idectomy)  is  practiced  only  in 
the  far  northeastern  and  northwestern  parts  of  the  country. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

This  right  is  restricted  as  the  trade  unions'  ordinance  confers 
broad  powers  on  the  Government  to  refuse  to  register  a  trade 
union.   However,  the  PNDC  has  not  interfered  with  the  right  of 
workers  to  associate  in  labor  unions.   Civil  servants  are 
prohibited  by  law  from  joining  or  organizing  a  trade  union. 
Trade  unions  in  Ghana  and  their  activities  are  still  governed 
by  the  Industrial  Relations  Act  (IRA)  of  1965.   The  Trade  Union 
Congress  (TUC) ,  established  in  1958,  represents  organized  labor 
in  Ghana.   It  has  been  the  sole  central  organization  since  its 
creation,  when  it  was  closely  linked  to  Nkrumah's  Convention 
People's  Party.   The  TUC  has  been  reorganized  on  a  number  of 
occasions,  including  by  a  pro-PNDC  faction  following  the 
military  coup  of  1981.   In  1984  the  progovernment  slate  was 
defeated  in  a  free  election  by  experienced  union  leaders  who, 
aided  by  a  revised  union  constitution  and  bylaws,  have  sought 
to  define  an  autonomous  role  for  the  TUC  within  the  PNDC  regime. 



The  right  to  strike  is  recognized  in  law.   Under  the  IRA,  the 
Government  has  established  a  system  of  settling  disputes,  first 
through  conciliation,  then  arbitration.   There  has  been  no 
progress  in  implementing  the  Government's  declared  intention  to 
replace  this  system  with  labor  tribunals  to  arbitrate 
industrial  disputes  certified  as  deadlocked. 

The  Committee  of  Experts  (COE)  of  the  International  Labor 
Organization  (ILO)  and  other  ILO  bodies  continue  to  criticize 
Ghanaian  legislation  that  limits  the  right  of  workers  to  form 
unions  of  their  own  choosing. 

The  TUC  is  affiliated  with  the  Organization  of  African  Trade 
Union  Unity  (OATUU) ,  which  has  its  headquarters  in  Accra. 
Consistent  with  OATUU  guidelines,  the  TUC  maintains  no  other 
international  affiliations,  although  it  has  friendly  relations 
with  a  variety  of  international  trade  union  organizations. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  IRA  provides  a  framework  for  collective  bargaining  and  some 
protection  against  antiunion  discrimination  as  well.   Ghana's 
trade  unions  engage  in  collective  bargaining  for  wages  and 
benefits  with  both  private  and  state-owned  enterprises,  though 
in  the  latter  category  the  threat  of  detention  (a  common 
practice  in  the  early  1980 's)  hangs  over  union  leaders  to  force 
agreement  on  issues.   No  union  leaders  were  detained  in  recent 
years  for  union,  or  other,  activities.   There  are  no 
functioning  export  processing  zones  in  Ghana. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Ghanaian  law  prohibits  forced  labor,  and  it  is  not  known  to  be 
practiced.   The  COE  continues  to  urge  the  Government  to  revise 
various  legal  provisions  that  permit  imprisonment  with  an 
obligation  to  perform  labor  for  offenses  that  are  not 
countenanced  under  ILO  Convention  105,  ratified  by  Ghana  in 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

Labor  legislation  in  Ghana  sets  a  minimum  employment  age  of  15 
and  prohibits  night  work  and  certain  types  of  hazardous  labor 
for  those  under  18.   In  practice,  child  labor  is  prevalent,  and 
young  children  of  school  age  can  often  be  found  during  the  day 
performing  menial  tasks  in  the  market  or  collecting  fares  on 
local  buses.   Observance  of  minimum  age  laws  is  eroded  by  local 
custom  and  economic  circumstances  that  encourage  children  to 
work  to  help  their  families.   Violators  of  regulations 
prohibiting  heavy  labor  and  night  work  for  children  are 
occasionally  punished.   Inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of 
Mobilization  and  Social  Welfare  are  responsible  for  enforcement 
of  child  labor  regulations. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimum  standards  for  wages  and  working  conditions  are 
established  through  a  tripartite  committee  composed  of 
representatives  of  government,  labor,  and  employees.   It 
establishes  a  minimum  wage  rate,  and  other  salaries  are 
adjusted  accordingly.   In  August  the  tripartite  commission 
established  a  minimum  wage  combining  wages  with  customary 
benefits,  such  as  a  transportation  allowance,  but  the  existing 
minimum  wage  is  insufficient  for  a  single  wage  earner  to 
support  a  family.   In  most  cases  households  are  supportefi  by 



multiple  wage  earners,  some  family  farming,  and  other  family 
based  commercial  activities. 

The  basic  workweek  in  Ghana  is  40  hours.   Occupational  safety 
and  health  regulations  are  in  effect,  and  sanctions  are 
occasionally  applied  through  the  Labor  Department  of  the 
Ministry  of  Social  Welfare.   However,  Ministry  officials  are 
few  in  number  and  poorly  trained.   They  will  take  action  if 
matters  are  called  to  their  attention,  but  lack  the  resources 
to  seek  out  violations. 



Under  President  Lansana  Conte,  Guinea  has  been  governed  by  the 
Military  Committee  for  National  Recovery  (CMRN)  and  a  joint 
military  and  civilian  cabinet  since  1984.   While  in  1991 
authority  remained  with  the  President  and  his  Cabinet,  who 
continued  to  govern  by  decree,  in  February  President  Conte 
replaced  the  CMRS  with  the  Transitional  Committee  for  National 
Recovery  (CTRN) .   The  CTRN  has  been  assigned  lawmaking  (i.e., 
legislative)  tasks,  but  the  new  Constitution  only  specifies 
that  the  CTRN  replaces  the  CMRN  until  the  Constitution  becomes 
effective.   In  1991  the  CTRN  concentrated  largely  on  drafting 
the  "organic"  laws  necessary  to  implement  the  Constitution, 
which,  passed  by  referendum  in  December  1990,  provides  for  a 
maximum  interim  5-year  period  of  mixed  military  and  civilian 
administration  leading  to  at  least  a  two  party  system  of 
government.   The  Cabinet  includes  representation  from  all 
ethnic  groups,  but  it  appeared  divided  on  the  need  and  pace  of 
political  reform.   Ethnic  violence  surfaced  again  in  1991, 
especially  after  local  elections  in  June,  resulting  in  hundreds 
of  deaths . 

The  pace  of  reform  was  very  much  controlled  by  President  Conte 
and  his  team.   National  Assembly  elections  are  to  take  place  by 
the  end  of  1992,  and  the  new  Assembly  will  then  set  a  date  for 
presidential  elections.   Political  parties  were  not  permitted, 
and  in  May  all  meetings  and  demonstrations  were  banned, 
effectively  neutralizing  the  nascent  opposition.   By  late  in 
the  year,  30  parties  and  political  organizations  had  formed, 
but  the  Government  mandated  that  they  restrict  their  activities 
to  meetings  in  private  homes  until  promulgation  of  the 
political  party  law. 

Military  and  paramilitary  forces  number  around  17,000  persons. 
Responsibility  for  internal  security  is  shared  by  the 
gendarmerie,  the  national  police,  and  a  well-armed  Presidential 
Guard.   Both  the  military  and  the  police  committed  human  rights 
abuses  in  1991.   Lawyers  were  still  not  allowed  in  police 
stations  to  help  prevent  such  abuses. 

Over  80  percent  of  Guinea's  7  million  people  live  by 
svibsistence  agriculture,  and  per  capita  gross  domestic  product 
is  around  $430.   Guinea's  major  exports  are  bauxite,  gold,  and 
diamonds.   In  1991  the  World  Bank  and  the  International 
Monetary  Fund  (IMF)  continued  to  oversee  Guinea's  major 
economic  restructuring  program,  which  involves,  inter  alia,  a 
sharp  reduction  in  the  size  of  the  public  service.   This 
austerity  program  was  viewed  by  critics  as  a  major  cause  of 
political  turbulence  in  1991. 

Human  rights  in  Guinea  remained  tightly  circumscribed  in  1991, 
although  public  discussion  of  political  reform  and  the  new 
Constitution  stimulated  expectations  for  change.   Major 
problems  included  the  inability  of  the  Government  to  curb 
ethnic  violence  and  serious  abuses  by  poorly  disciplined 
security  forces,  the  use  of  arbitrary  arrest  and  detention  to 
harass  alleged  opponents,  and  restrictions  on  speech,  the 
press,  assembly,  and  association. 




Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Extrajudicial  Killings 

There  were  no  reports  of  political  killings.   However,  there 
were  a  number  of  extrajudicial  killings  in  1991,  mainly 
associated  with  ethnic  violence.   In  June,  following  local 
elections  outside  Conakry,  there  were  ethnic  riots  in  several 
prefectures,  notably  in  N'Zerekore.   There,  several  hundred 
people  died  in  clashes  between  Malinkes  and  Guerzes  touched  off 
by  intertribal  taunting  after  the  announcement  of  election 
results . 

In  January  gendarmes  in  Dalaba  beat  a  suspected  thief  to  death 
and  then  tried  to  disguise  it  as  a  suicide.   A  march  was 
organized  on  the  gendarmerie  which  resulted  in  the  wounding  of 
two  people  and  the  burning  of  the  gendarmerie  post. 
Subsequently,  the  resident  minister  denounced  the  human  rights 
abuses  on  Guinean  radio  as  being  inconsistent  with  the  new 
Constitution.   The  gendarmes  were  not  brought  to  trial.   In 
April,  in  Kissidougou,  a  man  was  shot  and  killed  by  police 
after  an  argument . 

The  authorities'  treatment  of  Alpha  Conde,  an  opposition 
leader,  led  to  one  death.   He  returned  to  Guinea  from  abroad  in 
May,  and  the  authorities  immediately  accused  him  of  secretly 
bringing  weapons  into  the  country.   The  charges  were  believed 
to  have  been  trumped  up  (see  Section  l.d.).   Police  used 
excessive  force  to  break  up  a  planned  rally  organized  by 
Conde's  Rally  of  the  Guinean  People  (RPG) ,  injuring  several 
persons.   A  few  weeks  later,  police  killed  a  demonstrator 
protesting  a  police  summons  for  Conde  to  report  to  police 
headc[uarters . 

In  the  first  half  of  1991,  there  were  reports  from  the 
Guinea-Liber ian  border  of  soldiers  detaining  and  killing 
supporters  of  the  Liberian  rebel  leader,  Charles  Taylor. 
Taylor  and  his  National  Patriotic  Front  of  Liberia  (NPFL) 
forces  had  reportedly  killed  a  number  of  Guineans  living  in 
Liberia.   Given  fears  of  a  Taylor  insurgency  in  Guinea,  Guinean 
security  forces  were  more  likely  to  detain  refugees  suspected 
of  being  Taylor  supporters,  including  those  bearing  scorpion 
tattoos  (the  symbol  of  Charles  Taylor's  forces).   Guinean 
security  forces  also  took  measures  to  protect  refugees  with 
scorpion  tattoos  from  other  Liber ians  when  it  was  determined 
that  they  had  been  forcibly  tattooed. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  disappearances. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  1965  Penal  Code  and  the  Constitution  prohibit  torture  and 
cruel,  inhuman,  and  degrading  treatment.   However,  the  Guinean 
police  are  often  guilty  of  brutality  against  suspects,  as  the 
Dalaba  incident  indicated.   Prison  conditions,  including  those 
in  the  women's  prison,  are  primitive  and  unhealthy.   Deaths  due 
to  malnutrition  and  disease  are  frequent.   An  article  in  the 
February  10,  1991,  issue  of  Horoya,  the  official  newspaper, 
highlighted  this  point. 



d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Ineffective  administrative  controls  and  limited  legal  resources 
make  arbitrary  arrest  a  persistent  threat  to  Guineans.   There 
were  cases  of  arbitrary  arrest  and  detention  in  1991.   The  most 
important  involved  actions  taken  following  the  May  return  of 
the  opposition  leader  Alpha  Conde.   In  a  June  20  police  raid  on 
Conde's  home,  the  police  apparently  exceeded  the  terms  of  their 
warrant,  seizing  not  only  Conde's  papers  (as  instructed)  but 
stealing  large  c[uantities  of  personal  items  and  cash  as  well. 
While  Conde  was  not  at  home  at  the  time  of  the  raid,  police 
arrested  60  of  his  followers  (including  his  brother),  12  of 
whom  were  subsequently  brought  to  trial  on  charges  of 
possession  of  illegal  weapons  and  harboring  delinquents.   At 
one  point,  Conde's  lawyer  was  briefly  held  by  the  police. 
Conde  himself  took  refuge  in  the  residence  of  the  Senegalese 
Ambassador  and  later  was  allowed  to  leave  the  country  at  the 
rec[uest  of  the  Senegalese  Government. 

Many  members  of  the  public  viewed  the  case  as  a  frame-up  by 
elements  within  the  Government  (the  "arms"  shown  on  television 
to  a  skeptical  public  turned  out  to  be  knives  and  chemical  mace 
freely  available  in  the  local  markets).   The  case  also  received 
international  attention  and  criticism.   Ultimately,  Conde's 
brother  received  a  nominal  fine  for  possession  of  illegal 
munitions,  and  charges  against  the  other  defendants  were 
dismissed.   The  judge  ordered  the  police  to  return  Conde's 
property.   No  disciplinary  action  was  taken  against  the  police. 

In  December  1990,  lawyer  and  civil  rights  activist  Christian 
Sow  was  summoned  and  escorted  first  to  the  police  station,  and 
then,  at  gun  point,  to  the  Police  Academy,  50  kilometers  out  of 
the  city.   During  the  night,  he  received  a  head  injury  under 
circumstances  never  clarified,  although  the  police  claimed  it 
was  self-inflicted.   When  his  colleagues  first  inquired  about 
him  at  the  police  station,  the  police  said  that  they  had  not 
seen  him.   However,  the  next  morning,  the  police  chief  released 
him  without  explanation.   One  credible  report  indicated  the 
incident  was  the  product  of  a  dispute  within  the  CMRN,  the 
military  leadership  directly  preceding  the  CTRN,  over  the 
powers  of  the  police.   Again,  no  action  was  taken  to  discipline 
the  responsible  police  officials. 

Roger  Millimono,  an  official  in  the  Ministry  of  Tourism, 
Information,  and  Culture,  was  summarily  held  for  2  months  in 
prison  without  specific  charge  or  trial,  with  the  Government 
explaining  only  that  it  was  an  "affair  of  state."  Guinean 
lawyers  complained  about  improper  procedures  until  Millimono 
was  released.   Mr.  Millimono  subsequently  resumed  his  duties  at 
the  Ministry. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Guinean  law  provides  guarantees  of  due  process.   The  Guinean 
Penal  Code  provides  for  the  presumption  of  innocence  of  accused 
persons,  the  independence  of  judges,  the  equality  of  citizens 
before  the  law,  the  right  of  the  accused  to  counsel,  and  the 
right  to  appeal  a  judicial  decision. 

At  present,  the  judiciary  is  susceptible  to  influence  by  the 
executive,  although  the  new  Constitution  affirms  the 
judiciary's  independence.   In  trials  drawing  international 
attention,  such  as  the  cases  involving  Conde's  supporters,  the 
legal  procedures  are  more  likely  to  be  observed. 



The  judiciary  includes  the  courts  of  first  instance  (or  justice 
of  the  peace  at  the  local  level)  and  two  courts  of  appeal  (one 
in  Kankan,  one  in  Conakry)  .   The  Court  of  /Annulment  is  the 
Guinean  last  court  of  appeal.   Guinean  law  provides  for  a  court 
of  state  security  under  certain  circumstances,  but  one  has  not 
met  since  the  trial  of  those  allegedly  involved  in  the  coup 
attempt  of  1985.   A  military  tribunal  prepares  and  adjudicates 
charges  against  accused  military  personnel.   However,  since 
1988  all  judgments  regarding  violations  under  the  Penal  Code 
have  been  rendered  by  civilian  courts.   There  is  a  traditional 
system  of  justice  at  the  village  or  urban  neighborhood  level 
where  litigants  present  their  civil  cases  before  a  village 
chief,  neighborhood  chief,  or  council  of  wise  men  for 
judgment.   Trials  are  public.   Those  accused  of  major  crimes 
have  the  right  to  an  attorney  at  public  expense  if  they  cannot 
afford  counsel . 

The  dividing  line  between  the  formal  and  informal  justice 
system  is  vague,  and  a  case  may  be  referred  from  the  formal  to 
the  traditional  system  to  ensure  compliance  by  all  parties  with 
the  judicial  ruling.   Conversely,  if  a  case  cannot  be  resolved 
to  the  satisfaction  of  all  parties  in  the  traditional  system, 
it  may  be  referred  to  the  formal  system  for  adjudication. 

In  late  1990  and  early  1991,  officials  in  the  Ministry  of 
Finance  and  the  Economy  were  prosecuted  for  corruption.   In  a 
trial  at  the  Court  of  Assizes  in  Conakry,  they  were  found 
guilty  and  given  light  sentences. 

Suspected  criminals  caught  in  urban  areas  are  sometimes  beaten 
to  death  by  victims  and  their  neighbors  with  the  tacit  approval 
of  police  authorities.   While  public  officials  have  openly 
condemned  such  summary  justice,  no  one  has  ever  been  tried  or 
punished  for  it . 

The  administration  of  justice  is  plagued  by  numerous  problems: 
the  shortage  of  magistrates  (who  are  generally  poorly  trained) 
and  lawyers  (35  in  all),  an  outdated  and  overrestrictive  legal 
code,  and  corruption.   There  are  also  allegations  of  nepotism 
in  the  administration  of  justice,  with  relatives  of  influential 
members  of  the  Government  being  virtually  immune  to  the  law. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

The  Government  stresses  traditional  family  values  and  the 
inviolability  of  the  home.   However,  the  possibility  of 
interference  in  citizens'  lives  continues  primarily  through 
police  harassment.   It  is  widely  believed  that  security 
officials  monitor  mail  and  telephone  calls.   Judicial  search 
warrants  are  required  by  law,  but  these  procedures  are 
frequently  ignored  or,  as  in  the  Conde  affair  (see  Section 
l.d.),  not  strictly  followed. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

While  the  Government  publicly  states  that  it  supports  free 
speech  and  a  free  press,  and  the  new  Constitution  provides  for 
an  unspecified  degree  of  freedom  of  expression,  these  freedoms 
are  restricted  in  practice.   A  new  press  law,  while  proclaiming 
freedom  of  press  and  communications,  prohibits  communications 
which  offend  the  Guinean  President,  incite  to  violence, 
discrimination  or  hatred,  or  disturb  the  public  peace. 



Seditious  cries  or  chants  uttered  in  public  are  also 
prohibited.   The  law  permits  the  preventive  arrest  of 
publishers,  authors,  printers,  and  vendors  in  all  of  the  above 
cases . 

The  Government  owns  and  operates  most  of  the  news  media. 
Reporters,  who  are  government  employees,  practice 
self-censorship  in  order  to  protect  their  jobs.   The  Ministry 
of  Information,  Culture,  and  Tourism  continues  to  act  as 
overseer  of  the  media,  but  censorship  appears  to  have 
diminished  in  1991.   A  somewhat  bolder  spirit  of  criticism  in 
the  Government-owned  media  surfaced,  providing  franker  and  more 
open  coverage  of  events.   For  example,  there  was  open 
discussion  in  the  media  of  the  bloody  ethnic  rioting  in 
N'Zerekore  in  June. 

Beginning  in  June,  several  independent  journals  sprang  up,  some 
of  which  were  very  outspoken  in  their  criticism  of  the 
Government.   However,  these  tended  to  be  published  irregularly 
and  were  generally  short-lived,  due  to  technical  and  financial 
difficulties  rather  than  government  restriction. 

Several  political  tracts,  both  signed  and  unsigned,  that 
included  specific  criticisms  of  the  President  and  other 
officials  were  distributed  widely  in  Conakry  and  other 
regions.   In  February,  two  Guineans  issuing  leaflets  hostile  to 
Conte's  regime  were  arrested;  the  text  of  the  leaflets  had  a 
racist  edge.   However,  foreign  publications,  some  of  which 
include  criticism  of  the  Government,  circulated  freely  in 
Guinea.   There  was  no  attempt  to  interfere  with  foreign  radio 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Public  gatherings  may  take  place  only  with  the  approval  of  the 
Government.   The  Penal  Code  bans  any  meeting  that  has  an  ethnic 
or  racial  character  or  any  gathering  "whose  nature  threatens 
national  unity."   Political  parties  are  still  not  officially 
sauictioned,  although  more  than  30  embryonic  groups  had  begun  to 
organize  by  year's  end.   The  President  stated  at  midyear  that 
party  organization  (but  not  party-stimulated  public  unrest)  was 
permissible  and  counseled  politicians  to  be  patient  until  the 
laws  permitting  open  political  activity  entered  into  force. 
Open  party  competition  was  scheduled  to  begin  on  April  3,  1992, 
after  the  Government  promulgates  its  law  on  parties. 

When  Alpha  Conde  attempted  to  hold  a  rally  on  May  19,  security 
forces  intervened  with  tear  gas,  injuring  three  people.   The 
Government  justified  the  action  on  the  grounds  that  Conde  did 
not  have  a  permit  (see  Section  l.a.).   In  October  and  November, 
three  demonstrations  by  students  and  former  civil  servants 
protesting  unemployment  took  place  without  incident. 

The  Government  encourages  the  formation  of  nonpolitical 
professional  organizations,  whose  numbers  continue  to  increase. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Large  religious  groups  enjoy  religious  freedom  and  tolerance. 
An  estimated  85  percent  of  the  population  is  Muslim.   There  is 
no  official  state  religion,  and  the  preamble  of  the  new 
Constitution  declares  Guinea  to  be  a  secular  state.   The 
Government  observes  major  Christian  and  Muslim  holidays. 
Foreign  missionaries,  both  Catholic  and  Protestant,  operate 
freely  in  Guinea.   The  state-owned  radio  and  television 



Stations  provide  regular  air  time  for  both  Christian  and  Muslim 
broadcasts.   In  the  only  known  case  of  violence  possibly 
related  to  religion,  churches  and  mosques  were  damaged  during 
the  June  rioting  in  N'Zerekore  (see  Section  l.a.). 

The  Government  and  the  quasi-governmental  National  Islamic 
League  (LIN)  have  spoken  out  against  the  proliferation  of 
"pseudo-sects  (within  Guinean  Islam)  generating  confusion  and 
deviation"  but  have  not  restricted  these  groups.   The  new 
Constitution  guarantees  religious  communities  the  freedom  to 
administer  themselves  without  state  interference. 

d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation. 

Guineans  are  free  to  travel  within  the  country  and  to  change 
their  place  of  residence  and  work,  although  in  practice  they 
face  harassment  by  police  and  military  roadblocks,  particularly 
at  night.   It  is  common  for  citizens  to  pay  bribes  to  avoid 
police  harassment.   Foreign  travel  is  permitted,  although  the 
Government  retains  the  ability  to  limit  it  for  political 
reasons . 

About  450,000  Liber ians  and  Sierra  Leoneans  have  sought  refuge 
in  Guinea,  mostly  in  the  forest  region.   The  Government 
continues  to  work  closely  with  the  United  Nations  High 
Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR)  and  many  other  international 
and  nongovernmental  organizations  to  provide  food  and  shelter 
for  the  refugees.   Some  were  accused  of  involvement  in  the 
N'Zerekore  violence  leading  to  fears  of  expulsion.   No  action 
was  taken  against  them,  and  the  UNHCR  participated  in  an 
investigation  that  showed  the  refugees  were  no  more  involved 
than  their  nvunbers  and  degree  of  integration  into  society  would 
have  predicted.   With  the  aid  of  the  donors,  the  majority  of 
refugees  have  been  well  treated  by  the  Government.   However, 
there  were  unconfirmed  reports  in  early  1991  of  soldiers 
killing  refugees  suspected  of  being  Charles  Taylor  supporters. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Guinean  citizens  were  not  able  to  change  their  government 
through  democratic  procedures  in  1991.   The  President  and  his 
Cabinet  wielded  full  powers  of  government.   The  Constitution 
(basic  law)  provides  for  a  transition  to  democracy  not  to 
exceed  5  years.   On  October  2,  President  Conte  announced  that 
the  CTRN  would  have  finalized  versions  of  all  of  the  "organic 
laws"  by  December  23;  that  full  party  activity  would  be 
authorized  when  the  law  on  political  parties  came  into  effect 
on  April  3,  1992;  that  legislative  elections  would  be  held  by 
the  end  of  1992;  and  that  the  legislature  would  fix  the  date  of 
presidential  elections  at  its  first  session. 

The  role  of  the  military  in  the  Government  continues  to  be  a 
key  issue  in  political  reform.   Retiring  or  sending  officers 
back  to  the  barracks  remains  a  delicate  process.   A  number  of 
senior  officers  were  retired  in  1991  without  incident.   The 
future  political  role  of  the  President  and  certain  military 
members  of  the  Council  of  Ministers  remains  uncertain.   The 
Alpha  Conde  affair,  as  well  as  that  of  Christian  Sow  (Section 
l.d.),  demonstrated  the  existence  of  elements  within  the 
Cabinet,  particularly  within  the  security  forces,  hostile  to 
democratic  principles. 



The  Constitution  provides  for  basic  human  rights  and  for 
democratic  structures,  including  an  elected  president  with 
broad  powers,  an  elected  national  assembly,  an  economic  and 
social  council,  and  a  supreme  court.   The  Constitution  and 
relevant  organic  laws  also  provide  for  a  multiparty  system,  as 
long  as  parties  are  not  ethnic  or  regional.   The  political 
parties  law  allows  the  Interior  Minister  to  suspend  or  disband 
political  parties,  subject  to  judicial  review,  when  they  are 
involved  in  such  crimes  as  inciting  violence. 

Local  elections  were  held  in  1991.   Councils  were  freely 
elected — with  multiple  candidates  and  secret  ballots — in  the 
five  communes  of  Conakry  on  March  10,  and  Conakry  district 
elections  were  held  on  June  3.   Communal  elections  outside 
Conakry  were  held  on  June  9.   There  were  no  legal  restrictions 
on  women  or  minorities  in  voting.   However,  in  several 
prefectures,  the  elections  involved  ethnic  rioting,  most 
notably  in  N'Zerekore  where  hundreds  died  (see  Section  l.a.). 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

There  are  two  local  nongovernmental  organizations  in  Guinea 
that  are  primarily  interested  in  human  rights  issues:   the 
Guinean  Organization  for  Human  Rights  (OGDH)  and  the  Children 
of  the  Victims  of  Camp  Boiro.   The  OGDH  is  composed  largely  of 
members  of  the  professions  and  is  interested  in  legal  and  civil 
rights  as  well  as  such  social  and  economic  rights  as  education 
and  employment.   In  one  instance  in  1991,  it  called  for  a 
general  strike  in  response  to  the  arrest  of  Alpha  Conde's 
attorney.   As  with  OGDH's  other  activities,  the  Government  did 
not  interfere.   The  Children  of  the  Victims  of  Camp  Boiro 
(Sekou  Toure's  main  detention  center  for  political  prisoners) 
became  an  officially  recognized  civic  organization  in  1991.   In 
addition  to  seeking  restitution  of  losses  for  the  families  of 
those  who  died  at  Camp  Boiro,  this  organization  began  planning 
a  center  to  collect  and  disseminate  information  about  human 
rights  violations  committed  in  Guinea,  with  a  view  to 
preventing  future  violations.   Partly  as  a  result  of  this 
organization's  efforts,  the  Government  announced  plans  to 
create  a  museum  at  Camp  Boiro.   There  was  no  evidence  of 
government  restrictions  on  human  rights  activities  by  OGDH  or 
by  other  nongovernmental  organizations.   There  were  no  calls 
for  international  investigations  of  human  rights  violations  in 
Guinea  in  1991. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

While  racial  or  ethnic  discrimination  is  prohibited  by  the 
Constitution  and  the  Penal  Code,  ethnic  identification  is 
strong  in  Guinea  and  mutual  suspicion  affects  relations  across 
ethnic  lines,  in  and  out  of  government.   Official  government 
policy  is  to  include  representatives  of  all  major  ethnic  groups 
in  the  Government,  but  the  Soussou  ethnic  group  of  President 
Conte  tends  to  predominate  at  the  most  important  levels.   A 
disproportionate  number  of  police  are  Malinke,  former  President 
Toure's  ethnic  group. 

Women  face  discrimination  in  Guinea,  although  the  Constitution 
provides  for  the  equality  of  sexes.   In  particular,  in  rural 
Guinea  opportunities  for  women  are  limited  by  custom  and  the 
demands  of  subsistence  farming.   The  Government  has  affirmed 
the  principle  of  equal  pay  for  equal  work,  but  in  practice 



women  receive  less  pay  than  men  in  most  jobs.   In  education, 
according  to  a  U.N.  Development  Program  report  for  1991, 
females  receive  only  20  percent  of  the  schooling  of  males. 

Violence  against  women,  mainly  wife  beating,  is  a  criminal 
offense  and  constitutes  grounds  for  divorce  under  civil  law. 
However,  police  rarely  intervene  in  domestic  disputes,  and 
prosecution  of  husbands  for  wife  beating  is  infrequent.   Health 
workers  in  Guinea  say  that  wife  beating  occurs,  but  differ  as 
to  the  extent  of  the  problem.   The  issue  received  some  exposure 
in  locally  produced  television  dramas  but  is  not  mentioned  in 
the  press  or  given  governmental  attention.   Female  genital 
mutilation  (circumcision)  is  widespread  and  practiced  among  all 
religious  groups  in  Guinea:   Muslims,  Christians,  and  animists, 
although  the  current  generation  of  young  parents  is  less 
supportive  of  this  custom.   Grandmothers  frequently  insist  on 
the  circumcision  of  a  granddaughter  even  when  the  parents  are 
opposed.   The  most  dangerous  form  of  circumcision, 
inf ibulation,  is  not  practiced. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Guinea's  Labor  Code,  drafted  with  the  assistance  of  the 
International  Labor  Organization  (ILO)  and  promulgated  in 
January  1988,  states  that  all  workers  (except  military  and 
police)  have  the  right  to  create  and  participate  in 
organizations  that  defend  and  develop  their  individual  and 
collective  rights  as  workers.   At  least  one  independent  union, 
the  General  Workers  Union  of  Guinea  (UGTG),  has  emerged  since 
the  new  Labor  Code  ended  the  previously  existing  trade  union 
monopoly  system. .   The  Labor  Code  requires  elected  worker 
representatives  for  any  enterprise  employing  25  salaried 
workers.   In  practice,  most  workers  still  belong  to  the 
National  Confederation  of  Guinean  Workers  (CNTG)  which  is 
funded  by  the  State.   The  union  leadership  began  work  in  1991 
to  develop  a  check-off  system  of  dues  collection,  designed  to 
increase  the  Confederation's  autonomy  vis-a-vis  the 
Government.   The  CNTG  played  a  prominent  role  in  negotiations 
with  the  Government  in  May  which  eventually  led  to  a  decision 
to  double  government  worker  salaries.   After  reelecting  its 
leadership  in  early  July,  the  CNTG  rewrote  its  internal 
constitution  in  light  of  the  new  national  Constitution. 

With  the  exception  of  those  engaged  in  "essential  services," 
the  Labor  Code  grants  salaried  workers,  including  public  sector 
civilian  workers,  the  right  to  strike  10  days  after  their 
representative  union  makes  known  their  intention  to  strike. 
Mid-1991  saw  a  series  of  strikes  and  threatened  strikes  of 
which  the  most  important  was  a  general  strike,  including 
government  workers,  in  early  May.   The  strike  was  marred  by 
pro-  and  antigovernment  violence.   A  strike  at  the  Friguia 
alumina  plant  was  motivated  at  least  in  part  by  a  desire  to 
embarrass  the  national  mineworkers  union  and  may  presage  a 
period  of  local  unions  redefining  their  relationships  with  the 
national  unions.   Notably,  the  police  presence  during  the 
strike  was  kept  out  of  sight  and  violence  was  averted. 

Unions  may  freely  associate  with  international  labor  groups, 
but  the  only  notable  affiliations  are  those  the  CNTG  maintains 
in  African  regional  trade  union  organizations. 



b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Under  the  Labor  Code,  representative  workers'  unions  or  union 
groups  may  organize  the  workplace  and  negotiate  with  employers 
or  employer  organizations.   Collective  bargaining  for  wages  and 
salaries  is  protected  by  law.   Work  rules  and  work  hours 
established  by  the  employer  are  to  be  developed  in  consultation 
with  union  delegates.   Union  delegates  are  to  represent 
individual  and  collective  claims  and  grievances  before  the 
employer.   Individual  workers  threatened  with  dismissal  or 
other  sanctions  have  the  right  to  a  hearing  before  the  employer 
with  a  union  representative  present.   Antiunion  discrimination 
is  prohibited  by  law.   In  July  the  CNTG  added  to  all  labor 
contracts  language  prohibiting  such  discrimination.   There  are 
no  export  processing  zones  in  Guinea. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

The  Labor  Code  specifically  forbids  forced  or  compulsory 
labor.   There  is  no  evidence  of  its  practice. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  age  for  employment  in  the  new  Code  is  16  years  of 
age.   However,  apprentices  may  start  at  14.   Workers  and 
apprentices  below  18  are  not  permitted  to  work  at  night,  nor 
for  more  than  12  consecutive  hours,  nor  on  Sundays.   The  Labor 
Code  states  that  the  Minister  of  Labor  and  Social  Affairs  must 
maintain  a  list  of  occupations  in  which  women  and  youth  under 
18  may  not  be  employed.   Enforcement,  however,  by  inspectors 
from  this  Ministry  is  limited  to  large  firms  in  the  modern 
sector  of  the  economy;  children  of  all  ages  work  on  family 
farms  and  in  small  trades. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  Government  has  not  yet  enacted  minimum  wage  legislation, 
but  the  Labor  Code  provides  for  the  eventual  establishment  by 
decree  of  a  guaranteed  minimum  hourly  wage.   There  are  also 
provisions  for  overtime  and  night  wages  which  are  fixed 
percentages  of  the  regular  wage. 

According  to  the  Labor  Code,  regular  work  is  not  to  exceed 
10-hour  days  or  48-hour  weeks,  with  a  40-hour  workweek  being 
the  norm.   The  minimum  weekly  day  of  rest  must  be  24 
consecutive  hours,  usually  on  Sunday.   Every  salaried  worker 
has  the  right  to  an  annual  paid  holiday  accumulated  at  the  rate 
of  at  least  2.5  workdays  per  month  of  service. 

Several  articles  of  the  Code  provide  for  safe  working 
conditions  and  the  continued  good  health  of  workers,  and  labor 
inspectors  are  empowered  to  suspend  work  immediately  in 
dangerous  situations.   These  were  as  yet  goals  rather  than 
practice  and  were  not  enforced  in  1991.   The  Ministry  of  Labor 
and  Social  Affairs  is  supposed  to  enforce  labor  standards. 
Labor  inspectors  acknowledge  that  they  cannot  even  cover 
Conakry,  much  less  the  entire  country,  with  their  small  staffs 
and  meager  budgets . 



The  Republic  of  Guinea-Bissau  is  a  one-party  state  with  former 
or  present  military  leaders  in  key  positions.   General  Joao 
Bernardo  Vieira  serves  as  President  of  the  Council  of  State  and 
Head  of  State,  Commander-in-Chief,  and  General  Secretary  of 
Guinea-Bissau's  previously  sole  legal  political  party,  the 
African  party  for  the  Independence  of  Guinea-Bissau  and  Cape 
Verde  (PAIGC).   In  elections  held  in  June  1989,  Vieira,  the 
only  candidate,  was  elected  for  a  second  5-year  term  as 
President.   Effective  power  and  day-to-day  decisions  rest  in 
the  hands  of  the  President  and  the  Council  of  State.   However, 
there  have  been  growing  pressures  for  political  reform,  many  of 
them  emanating  from  within  the  PAIGC.   In  1991  President  Vieira 
and  the  PAIGC  again  reaffirmed  that  the  political  structure  of 
the  country  was  to  be  changed  to  a  presidentially  based, 
multiparty  system  by  early  1993. 

The  armed  forces  (FARP)  are  responsible  for  state  security, 
both  external  and  internal.   FARP  leaders  are  usually  members 
of  the  PAIGC  and  often  hold  key  positions  in  the  Political 
Bureau  or  Central  Committee.   The  police  were  responsible  for 
human  rights  abuses  in  1991.   Persons  accused  of  political 
crimes  are  tried  by  military  tribunals. 

Guinea-Bissau's  population  of  1  million  is  engaged  largely  in 
subsistence  agriculture.   There  are  some  exports  of  fish  and 
seafood  and  small  amounts  of  peanuts.   The  Government's 
post  independence  efforts  to  exercise  central  control  over  the 
economy  failed  to  stimulate  agricultural  production  and 
resulted  in  chronic  shortages  of  most  basic  commodities, 
inefficient  state-owned  enterprises,  high  unemployment,  and  a 
weak  national  currency.   In  1991  the  economy  remained  extremely 
fragile,  despite  a  series  of  austerity  reforms  launched  in  the 
late  1980 's  to  promote  long-term  economic  growth. 

Human  rights  remained  circumscribed  in  1991,  as  the  Government 
and  party  carefully  controlled  the  reform  process.   It  passed 
potentially  important  legislation  governing  new  parties,  the 
press,  and  labor,  but  it  cracked  down,  through  detentions, 
physical  mistreatment,  and  other  forms  of  serious  harassment, 
on  political  opponents  and  nascent  groups  that  attempted  to 
move  quickly  toward  a  multiparty  system.   By  the  end  of  the 
year,  three  new  opposition  political  parties  had  attained  legal 
status,  ending  a  long  midyear  period  of  government  inertia  on 
the  legalization  of  the  opposition.   A  group  of  121  of  the 
PAIGC 's  younger,  more  reformist  members  called  publicly  upon 
the  President  to  recommit  himself  to  the  transition  and  to 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  political  or  extrajudicial  killings, 
nor  any  reports  of  deaths  of  persons  in  official  custody. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  known  cases  of  disappearance. 



c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Pxinishment 

The  Constitution  prohibits  cruel  and  inhuman  punishment,  and  a 
recent  revision  also  makes  evidence  obtained  through  torture  or 
other  coercion  invalid.   However,  security  authorities  employ 
abusive  interrogation  methods,  especially  severe  beatings.   In 
September  the  police  beat  four  members  of  a  nascent  political 
party  while  they  were  in  police  custody  (see  Section  2.b.). 
There  have  been  no  known  cases  of  police  officers  or  security 
officials  being  disciplined  for  such  actions. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Arrests  in  Guinea-Bissau  are  frequently  arbitrary,  as  arrest 
procedures  are  undefined,  and  the  use  of  arrest  warrants  is  the 
exception  rather  than  the  rule.   The  legal  system,  inherited 
from  the  Portuguese  but  modified  by  the  Constitution,  includes 
important  procedural  rights,  such  as  the  right  to  counsel,  but 
generally  fails  to  provide  adequate  safeguards  against 
arbitrary  or  illegal  arrest  and  detention.   Bail  procedures  are 
also  observed  erratically. 

The  Government  frequently  holds  persons  without  charge  or 
trial,  sometimes  for  extended  periods  of  time,  including  in 
incommunicado  detention.   The  security  services  continue  to 
have  the  power  administratively  to  detain  suspects  without 
reference  to  judicial  authority,  often  through  the  device  of 
house  arrest.   The  Government  used  its  detention  powers  in  1991 
to  arrest  and  hold  for  several  hours  six  members  of  a 
prospective  new  political  party  for  alleged  illegal 
demonstrations . 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Traditional  law  still  prevails  in  most  rural  areas,  and  many 
urban  dwellers  continue  to  bring  judicial  disputes  to 
recognized  traditional  counselors.   With  some  exceptions,  the 
official  judicial  system  is  based  on  the  Portuguese  model. 
Intervals  between  arrest  and  trial  are  often  lengthy.   Defense 
lawyers  traditionally  have  been  court  appointed.   Private  legal 
practice  became  permissible  only  in  1990. 

The  military  dominates  the  handling  of  political  and  security 
cases.   Trials  involving  state  security  usually  are  not  open  to 
outside  observers  and  are  conducted  by  military  tribunals. 
Armed  forces  members  are  tried  by  military  courts  for  all 
offenses.   The  Supreme  Court  is  the  final  court  of  appeal  for 
both  civilian  and  military  cases,  except  those  involving 
national  security  matters.   In  this  instance  the  Council  of 
State  reviews  all  decisions. 

The  Government  maintains  that  there  are  no  political  detainees 
or  prisoners  held  since  the  release  in  1990  of  22  prisoners 
convicted  of  involvement  in  a  1985  coup  plot.   There  are 
credible  reports,  however,  that  five  persons  classifiable  as 
political  prisoners  are  restricted  to  living  in  the  Bijagos 
Islands  and  are  permitted  visits  only  by  family  members. 

f .  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

Constitutional  guarantees  of  the  inviolability  of  domicile, 
person,  and  correspondence  are  not  always  respected  in  cases  of 
serious  crimes  or  state  security.   International  and  domestic 



mail  may  be  subject  to  surveillance  and  censorship.   While 
membership  in  the  PAIGC  was  never  forced,  persons  with 
political  aspirations  traditionally  have  realized  the 
importance  of  belonging  to  what  was  long  Guinea-Bissau's  sole 
legal  political  party,  and  most  government  appointments  in  the 
past  have  gone  to  party  members. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  intellectual, 
artistic,  and  scientific  expression,  with  the  significant 
exception  of  cases  in  which  these  rights  are  exercised  in  a 
manner  "contrary  to  the  promotion  of  social  progress."   In 
practice,  these  freedoms  are  restricted.   The  Government 
controls  all  information  media  and  tends  to  view  the  press  as  a 
vehicle  for  the  expression  of  government  views.   Journalists 
traditionally  are  government  employees  and  practice 
self-censorship  to  maintain  their  positions.   Criticism  of 
certain  officials  or  government  offices  appears  from  time  to 
time  in  the  local  news,  but  typically  only  when  aimed  at 
persons  who  are  already  known  to  have  lost  the  President's 
support . 

In  the  1991  revisions  to  the  Constitution,  an  article  was  added 
that  for  the  first  time  specifically  provided  for  freedom  of 
the  press  and  established  a  National  Council  of  Social 
Communications  to  oversee  fair  access  to  the  electronic  and 
print  media.   While  a  new  press  law  enacted  late  in  the  year 
requires  government  media  to  reflect  the  full  range  of  public 
opinion  without  favor  to  any  group,  it  is  too  early  to  know  how 
effective  the  law  will  prove  in  practice.   By  year's  end,  newly 
legalized  parties  were  granted  10  minutes  of  television  airtime 
per  month  and  were  being  covered  by  radio  news. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Although  the  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  assembly  and 
association  and  government  approval  is  not  required  for 
peaceful,  nonpolitical  assemblies  and  demonstrations, 
heretofore,  all  existing  organizations  have  been  linked  to  the 
Government  or  the  party.   This  situation  changed  significantly 
during  1991,  however,  with  the  formation  of  numerous  political 
and  nonpolitical  organizations  having  no  ties  to  the  PAIGC. 
Over  a  dozen  groups  attempted  to  gain  legal  status  as  political 
parties,  and  at  least  five  conducted  effective  nationwide 
campaigns  to  gather  the  necessary  petition  signatures. 

Newly  emerging  opposition  political  parties  faced  a  number  of 
obstacles  in  complying  with  the  prescribed  legalization 
procedures,  including  a  complex  and  difficult  system  for 
obtaining  valid  signatures  on  the  required  petition. 
Additionally,  police  and  security  forces  harassed  and 
intimidated  potential  petition  signers,  using  inter  alia, 
detentions  and  physical  mistreatment.   During  the  year, 
therefore,  the  Government's  position  remained  ambiguous:   the 
groups  had  to  canvas  to  gather  signatures  and  then  apply  for 
legalization  by  registering  the  list  of  their  members  with  the 
Supreme  Court;  until  they  attained  that  legal  status,  however, 
they  were  not  "parties"  as  such  and  could  not  properly  organize 
and  publicly  campaign  to  attract  members.   Nevertheless,  three 
parties  managed  to  gain  legal  status,  all  in  the  last  3  weeks 
of  the  year.   Once  legal,  parties  experienced  no  difficulties 
with  the  authorities  over  demonstrations. 



c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Religious  freedom  is  provided  for  in  the  Constitution  and  has 
been  respected  in  practice.   Christians,  Muslims,  and  animists 
worship  freely,  and  proselytizing  is  permitted.   However, 
religious  groups  must  be  licensed  by  the  Government.   In  1991 
there  were  no  reports  of  groups  being  refused  licenses. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Citizens  are  allowed  to  move  freely  throughout  Guinea-Bissau. 
Foreign  travel  is  not  restricted,  nor  is  citizenship  revoked 
for  political  reasons.   Over  the  past  three  decades  a 
considerable  number  of  persons  have  emigrated  for  economic 
reasons . 

During  late  1990  and  early  1991,  up  to  6,000  Senegalese 
refugees  fled  into  northern  Guinea-Bissau  to  escape  the 
separatist  disturbances  in  the  Casamance  region  of  southern 
Senegal.   The  Government  worked  with  various  international 
donors,  including  the  United  States,  to  provide  for  the  basic 
health  and  nutritional  needs  of  the  refugees.   No  pressure  was 
placed  on  refugees  to  return  to  Senegal  and  at  year's  end  the 
U.N.  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees  reported  almost  5,000  still 
in  Guinea-Bissau,  most  of  them  indicating  that  they  intended  to 
remain  indefinitely. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  did  not  have  this  right  in  1991.   The  PAIGC  and 
military  elite,  headed  by  President  Joao  Bernardo  Vieira, 
continued  to  control  all  political  activity,  including  the  pace 
of  reform.   However,  constitutional  revisions  in  1991  deleted 
all  reference  to  the  PAIGC 's  dominant  role  and  allowed  for  new 
parties,  so  long  as  they  do  not  have  an  ethnic,  regional,  or 
religious  orientation.   Although  public  expectations  of 
political  liberalization  outpaced  actual  reforms  during  much  of 
1991,  progress  toward  democratization  was  made. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

A  nonpartisan  human  rights  group  without  government  or 
political  ties  was  formed  in  1991.   This  group,  the  Guinean 
Human  Rights  League,  has  made  low-key  criticisms  of  the 
Government,  calling  for  penal  reform  and  abolition  of  the  death 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

While  officially  prohibited,  discrimination  against  women 
persists  within  certain  ethnic  groups,  especially  the  Fulas  and 
Mandinkas  of  the  north  and  east  where  female  circumcision  is 
still  a  widespread  practice,  despite  official  prohibition. 
Women  enjoy  higher  status  in  the  societies  of  the  Balanta, 
Papel,  and  Bijagos  groups,  who  live  mainly  in  the  southern 
coastal  region.   Women  are  responsible  for  much  of  the  work  on 
subsistence  farms,  and  they  have  limited  access  to  education, 
especially  in  rural  areas.   According  to  a  recent  U.N.  study, 
females  in  Guinea-Bissau  receive  only  one-third  the  schooling 
of  males.   While  there  are  some  high-ranking  women  in  the 



Government  and  a  ministry  for  the  advancement  of  women  exists, 
authority  remains  overwhelmingly  in  the  hands  of  men. 

Physical  violence,  including  wife  beating,  is  an  accepted  means 
of  settling  domestic  disputes  among  all  ethnic  groups.   While 
police  will  intervene  in  domestic  disputes  if  requested,  the 
Government  has  not  undertaken  specific  measures  to  raise  the 
public  consciousness  of  women  or  to  reduce  violence  against 
them.   It  has  undertaken  educational  campaigns  against  the 
practice  of  female  circumcision,  but  the  practice  persists 
among  certain  ethnic  groups. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

In  1991  the  Constitution  was  revised  specifically  to  grant  the 
freedom  to  form  independent  trade  unions,  and  the  Government 
had  prepared,  though  still  not  enacted  at  year's  end,  enabling 
legislation  to  enumerate  the  rights  and  obligations  of  new 
unions.   While  the  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of 
association,  in  practice  only  one  trade  union  confederation, 
the  National  Union  of  Workers  of  Guinea-Bissau  (UNTG),  exists 
in  Guinea-Bissau.   With  strong  ties  to  the  PAIGC,  the  UNTG  more 
closely  resembles  a  mass  party  organization  than  an  independent 
union,  and  it  has  been  neither  aggressive  nor  effective  in 
promoting  worker  rights. 

The  new  Constitution  of  1991  includes  an  article  which 
recognizes  the  right  to  strike  and  prohibits  lock-outs.   In  the 
past,  strikes  have  occurred  only  on  rare  occasions,  and  the 
public's  perception  has  been  that  strikes,  like  antigovernment 
meetings,  would  not  be  tolerated.   In  1991,  however,  a  nearly 
nationwide  teachers'  strike  lasted  for  a  number  of  weeks  and 
resulted  in  negotiations  between  the  Government  and  teachers' 
representatives.   Also,  capital  city  taxi  drivers  organized 
several  short-term  work  stoppages  to  protest  poor  road 
maintenance  and  high  fuel  prices.   In  neither  of  these  two 
cases  did  the  Government  take  any  repressive  actions  against 
the  strikers. 

The  UNTG  is  affiliated  with  the  Communist-dominated  World 
Federation  of  Trade  Unions.   The  new  labor  law  provides  that 
unions  will  have  the  right  to  freely  affiliate  with 
international  labor  organizations  of  their  choice,  but  until 
independent  unions  are  formed  the  practical  effect  of  this 
provision  is  unknown. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Guinea-Bissau's  small  manufacturing  sector  employs  fewer  than 
5,000  persons,  and  almost  half  of  the  estimated  28,000  salaried 
workers  are  government  employees.   The  scarcity  of  salaried 
jobs  has  forced  employees  to  focus  on  obtaining  and  keeping 
employment  rather  than  on  organizing  and  bargaining.   Public 
employees  are  permitted  to  join  the  UNTG,  but  its  activities 
have  not  emphasized  organizing  employees  (whether  private  or 
public)  for  the  purpose  of  collective  bargaining,  and  the 
Government  dominates  the  bargaining  process.   The  Constitution, 
even  as  revised  in  1991,  does  not  provide  for  or  protect  the 
right  to  bargain  collectively.   There  are  no  export  processing 
zones  in  Guinea-Bissau. 

The  International  Labor  Organization's  Committee  of  Experts  has 
noted  for  several  years  that  the  Government's  provision  for  the 



protection  of  workers  against  antiunion  discrimination  does  not 
appear  to  be  accompanied  by  penal  sanctions  against  employers 
and  that  the  General  Labor  Act  of  1986  is  not  applicable 
toworkers  in  the  public  service. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  not  permitted  by  law  and  is  not 
known  to  exist. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  General  Labor  Act  of  1986  established  a  minimum  age  of  14 
for  general  factory  labor  and  of  18  for  heavy  or  dangerous 
labor,  including  all  labor  in  mines.   These  minimum  age 
requirements  are  generally  followed  in  the  small  wage  sector, 
but  there  is  minimal  enforcement  by  the  Ministry  of 
Administrative  Reform,  Civil  Service,  and  Labor.   Children  in 
rural  communities  do  domestic  and  field  work  for  no  pay.   The 
Government  does  not  attempt  to  discourage  this  practice  and,  in 
fact,  delays  the  opening  of  schools  until  the  rice  harvesting 
season  has  ended. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Even  in  the  small  wage  sector,  labor  laws  are  unevenly  enforced 
due  primarily  to  the  extreme  economic  underdevelopment  of  the 
country.   However,  there  are  governinent  regulations  governing 
such  matters  as  job-related  disabilities  and  vacation  rights. 
The  maximum  number  of  hours  permitted  in  a  normal  workweek  is 
45  hours.   Although  not  consistently  enforced,  a  minimum  wage 
is  mandated  by  the  Ministry  of  Civil  Service  for  government 
employees.   The  wage  is  inadequate  to  maintain  even  a  minimum 
standard  of  living,  and  workers  must  supplement  their  income 
through  reliance  on  the  extended  family  and  subsistence 
agriculture.   Existing  legal,  health,  and  safety  standards  for 
workers  are  not  enforced  by  the  Ministry  of  Administrative 
Reform,  Civil  Service,  and  Labor  in  a  uniform  or  comprehensive 
manner . 



After  strenuously  rejecting  calls  for  political  reform 
throughout  1991  and  harassing  and  intimidating  groups  and 
individuals  advocating  multiparty  democracy,  Kenyan  President 
Daniel  T.  Arap  Moi,  in  a  surprise  move  in  December,  recommended 
that  Kenya  again  adopt  a  multiparty  system.   Although  Kenya  has 
had  an  elected  civilian  government  since  independence  in  1963, 
the  Kenya  African  National  Union  (KANU)  has  been  de  facto  the 
sole  political  party  almost  since  independence;  since  1982  it 
has  held  that  status  de  jure.   Passage  of  the  enabling 
legislation  on  December  10  opened  the  way  for  multiparty 
elections,  which  must  be  held  by  mid-1993  at  the  latest,  for 
the  elected  National  Assembly  (unicameral  Parliament)  of  188 
members,  plus  12  members  appointed  by  the  President  and  2  ex 
officio  members.   Parties  were  expected  to  begin  registration 
immediately  in  anticipation  of  the  possibility  of  early 
elections.   As  of  mid-December,  legislation  was  also  under 
consideration  that  would  increase  the  number  of  possible 
elected  seats  in  the  National  Assembly  from  its  present  limit 
of  188  to  a  maximum  of  210.   In  its  one-party  configuration, 
the  National  Assembly  has  virtually  no  independent  power  in 
national  political  affairs,  but  its  sessions  provide  a  forum 
for  members  to  raise  local  or  regional  issues. 

Kenya  has  a  large  and  growing  internal  security  apparatus  that 
includes  the  police  Criminal  Investigation  Department  (CID), 
the  paramilitary  General  Service  Unit  (GSU),  and  the 
Directorate  of  Security  and  Intelligence  (DSI  or  Special 
Branch) .   The  CID  and  Special  Branch  investigate  criminal 
activity  and  also  monitor  persons  the  State  considers 
subversive.   The  internal  security  apparatus  has  been  used  to 
intimidate  and  harass  politicians,  opponents  of  the  Government, 
and  dissidents,  sometimes  resorting  to  torture  and  other 
mistreatment  (see  Section  I.e.). 

Kenya's  economy,  despite  the  dominance  of  public  and 
state-owned  enterprises,  includes  a  we 11 -developed  private 
sector  for  trade  and  light  manufacturing  as  well  as  an 
agricultural  sector  that  provides  food  for  local  consumption 
and  substantial  exports  of  coffee,  tea,  and  other  commodities. 
Tourism  is  the  top  foreign  exchange  earner  but  grew  at  a  slower 
pace  in  1991  due  to  the  Gulf  War.   Although  economic  growth 
continued  in  1991,  a  persistently  high  population  growth  rate 
contributed  to  serious  and  growing  unemployment. 

While  there  were  signs  of  improvement  in  human  rights  in  late 
1991,  human  rights  were  circumscribed  for  most  of  the  year,  and 
significant  restrictions  remained  at  year's  end.   For  the  first 
10  months  of  1991  KANU  resisted  reform.   President  Moi 
repeatedly  asserted  that  Kenya  was  not  ready  for  multiparty 
democracy,  and  movement  towards  political  change  was  blocked  in 
various  ways.   The  Government  refused  applications  for  licenses 
to  hold  opposition  political  meetings,  and  church  groups  and 
the  Law  Society  canceled  prayer  meetings  on  political  topics 
following  government  intimidation.   The  Government  denied 
registration  to  a  newly  formed  political  party,  and  KANU 
expelled,  under  the  guise  of  "deregistration"  from  the  party, 
several  members  who  joined  an  informal  group  advocating  change 
(the  Forum  for  the  Restoration  of  Democracy — FORD).   In  1991 
the  Attorney  General  lifted  restrictions  on  the  Nairobi  Law 
Monthly,  originally  banned  for  its  coverage  of  the  multiparty 
debate,  and  the  Government  released  from  custody  the  three 
prominent  detainees  held  under  the  controversial  Preservation 
of  Public  Security  Act  (PPSA),  Kenneth  Matiba,  Charles  Rubia, 
and  Raila  Odinga.   A  number  of  sedition  trials  were  also 



concluded  in  1991;  many  questions  were  raised  about  the 
fairness  of  these  trials,  and  there  were  credible  charges  of 
police  brutality  and  torture. 

Former  Member  of  Parliament  (M.P.)  George  Anyona  and  three 
codefendants  were  convicted  on  circumstantial  evidence  which 
depended  heavily  on  inferences  from  ambiguous  documents  found 
in  the  possession  of  the  accused.   Former  M.P.  Koigi  Wa 
Wamwere,  arrested  in  October  1990  on  charges  of  treason, 
continued  to  be  held  in  prison  at  year's  end,  awaiting  trial. 
In  what  appeared  to  be  a  politically  motivated  decision, 
officers  of  the  Kenyan  Law  Society  were  convicted  of  contempt 
of  court  resulting  from  an  order  forbidding  them  from  making 
statements  critical  of  the  Government. 

At  year's  end,  the  Government  had  failed  to  investigate  several 
cases  of  physical  attacks  on  well-known  government  opponents 
and  their  families.   Serious  questions  remained  about  the 
Government's  handling  of  the  investigation  into  the  1990  murder 
of  Foreign  Minister  Robert  Ouko.   The  fall  of  the  Somali  and 
Ethiopian  Governments  in  the  first  6  months  of  1991  triggered 
an  influx  of  refugees.   The  Government  was  reluctant  to  grant 
full  refugee  status  to  asylum  seekers.   Many  refugees  suffered 
police  harassment  and  sporadic  refoulements,  culminating  in  a 
refoulement  by  the  Kenyan  Navy  which  resulted  in  the  loss  of  37 
Somali  lives. 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killings 

Following  the  murder  of  Foreign  Minister  Robert  Ouko  in  1990, 
which  many  believe  was  politically  motivated,  the  Government 
called  in  a  team  from  Britain's  New  Scotland  Yard  to  assist  in 
the  investigation.   A  judicial  inquiry  began  in  October  1990 
and  heard  testimony  for  over  a  year.   President  Moi,  however, 
abruptly  terminated  the  inc[uiry  on  November  26  and  asked  the 
police  to  resume  investigating  the  case.   On  December  9,  a 
former  district  commissioner  was  charged  with  murder  in  the 
case.   Two  other  suspects,  former  Energy  and  Industry  Minister 
Nicholas  Biwott  and  former  Permanent  Secretary  for  Internal 
Security  and  Provincial  Administration  Hezekiah  Oyugi,  were 
arrested  November  26  but  released  without  charge  2  weeks  later 
due  to  lack  of  evidence.   The  judicial  inquiry  had  heard 
substantial  testimony  regarding  corruption  on  the  part  of 
Biwott  and  Oyugi,  with  the  implication  that  corruption  had 
played  a  part  in  motivating  Dr.  Ouko ' s  murder.   On  the  last  day 
of  the  inquiry,  its  commissioners  published  a  statement  saying 
that  their  telephones  had  been  bugged  by  the  police  and  that 
they  had  heard  rumors  of  a  plot  to  assassinate  one  of  their 
number  to  end  the  inquiry.   There  has  been  no  investigation  of 
these  charges . 

On  June  30,  during  a  riot  over  student  allowances,  one  Moi 
University  student,  Shadrack  Opiyo,  was  shot  dead  by  the 
police.   No  investigation  followed  the  incident. 

Reports  by  survivors  indicate  that  on  May  25  the  Kenyan  Navy 
towed  two  boats  of  Somali  asylum  seekers  out  to  sea  in  order  to 
repatriate  them  against  their  will.   Cut  adrift  in  rough  water, 
the  unseaworthy  boats  capsized,  and  37  refugees  drowned.   The  • 
Navy  showed  extreme  negligence  over  the  possible  loss  of  life. 



The  Ministry  of  Home  Affairs,  responsible  for  refugee  matters, 
issued  a  statement  exonerating  the  Navy,  saying  that  naval 
vessels  had  not  towed  the  refugees  to  sea  but  had  come  to 
assist  an  overloaded  refugee  boat.   While  towing  the  refugees 
to  safety,  the  line  broke,  and  the  boat  capsized.   Although  the 
United  States  Government  and  the  United  Nations  High 
Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR)  requested  an  official 
investigation,  at  year's  end  no  such  inquiry  had  begun. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  disappearance. 

c.  Torture  and  other  Cruel,  Inhximan,  and  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Torture  is  proscribed  under  the  Constitution,  but  there 
continued  to  be  persistent  credible  reports  of  severe  police 
brutality  and  abuse  of  prisoners  in  1991.   For  example,  when 
Reverend  Lawford  Ndege  Imunde  was  released  in  March  and  his 
sentence  commuted  to  time  served,  he  alleged  that  during  his 
imprisonment  he  had  been  beaten,  denied  appropriate  medical 
treatment,  and  held  in  a  prison  for  the  criminally  insane. 

In  the  sedition  trial  of  George  Anyona  and  his  associates, 
defendant  Edward  Akong'o  Oyugi  claimed  that  for  10  days  during 
his  interrogation,  he  was  beaten,  kept  naked  in  a  flooded  cell, 
and  not  given  enough  food.   There  has  been  no  investigation  of 
these  allegations,  which  are  the  subject  of  pending  litigation. 

During  the  same  trial,  George  Anyona  described  his 
interrogation  at  Nyayo  House  in  Nairobi,  claiming  that  several 
floors  of  the  building  contained  torture  chambers  and  asking 
the  magistrate  to  investigate  the  charge.   The  state  prosecutor 
said  that  those  areas  of  Nyayo  House  came  under  the  Restricted 
Areas  Act,  and  no  further  investigation  occurred.   E.  Barrack 
Mbajah,  brother  of  murdered  Foreign  Minister,  Robert  Ouko, 
claimed  in  an  affidavit  prepared  in  the  United  States  that:   "I 
was  arrested,  confined  for  5  days  and  nights,  and  severely 
beaten  by  Kenya  (sic)  security  after  I  refused  to  cooperate 
with  them  in  covering  up  the  assassination."  A  defendant  in 
the  Koigi  Wa  Wamwere  treason  trial.  Rumba  Kinuthia,  says  he  was 
tortured  and  kept  chained  in  a  water-logged  cell.   Detailed 
accounts  of  beatings  and  painful,  extended  torture  reported  in 
past  years  have  never  been  investigated.   The  Government  seems 
to  make  no  attempt  to  identify  or  prosecute  those  responsible. 

Prison  conditions  in  Kenya  are  harsh  due  to  overcrowding  and 
insufficient  funding  for  prison  operations.   Corruption  and 
sexual  abuse  occur.   Food  and  medical  facilities  are  in  short 
supply.   Malnutrition  particularly  affects  nursing  and  pregnant 
mothers,  whose  small  children  stay  in  prison  with  them.   In 
March  the  Government  made  available  information  about  the 
conditions  under  which  the  three  Preservation  of  Public  Safety 
Act  detainees  were  held  (see  Section  l.d.),  specifically  the 
frequency  of  family  visits  and  access  to  legal  and  medical 
advice.   It  showed  that  medical  and  family  access  to  these 
detainees  was  very  limited.   In  the  case  of  Raila  Odinga,  all 
requests  for  visits  by  legal  counsel  had  been  refused. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  Constitution  provides  that  most  persons  arrested  or 
detained  (other  than  those  detained  under  the  PPSA)  shall  be 



brought  before  a  court  "as  soon  as  is  reasonably  practicable." 
If  such  person  is  not  brought  within  24  hours  after  his  arrest 
or  from  the  commencement  of  his  detention,  the  burden  of 
explanation  is  on  the  authorities. 

The  Constitution  was  amended  in  1988  to  allow  the  police  to 
hold  people  suspected  of  capital  offenses  for  14  days  before 
being  brought  before  a  court.   Capital  offenses  include  such 
crimes  as  murder  and  treason.   In  practice,  suspects  of  all 
types  are  often  held  incommunicado  for  2  to  3  weeks  before 
being  brought  to  court.   Family  members  often  bring  law  suits 
to  compel  authorities  to  produce  "missing"  prisoners. 

Bail  is  frec[uently  granted  in  nonpolitical  cases.   In  late 
1991,  the  courts  more  frequently  granted  bail  in  "political" 
cases  than  had  been  the  case  earlier  in  the  year.   When  Gitobu 
Imanyara  was  arrested  on  sedition  charges,  which  were 
subsequently  dropped  by  the  Attorney  General,  he  was  denied 
bail,  even  though  he  suffered  from  severe  health  problems. 
When  he  was  hospitalized  in  recognition  of  the  threat  to  his 
health,  he  was  chained  to  his  hospital  bed.   Luke  Obok,  an 
associate  of  Luo  politician  Oginga  Odinga,  was  charged  with 
possessing  seditious  documents  and  was  repeatedly  denied  bail. 

Kenya's  PPSA  allows  the  State  to  detain  a  person  indefinitely 
without  charges  or  trial  upon  a  determination  "that  it  is 
necessary  for  the  preservation  of  public  security." 
"Preservation  of  public  security"  includes  "prevention  and 
suppression  of  rebellion,  mutiny,  violence,  intimidation,  . 
disorder  and  crime,  unlawful  attempts  and  conspiracies  to 
overthrow  the  government  or  the  constitution,"  and  several 
other  grounds.   A  formal  detention  order  must  be  signed  and 
published  in  the  Kenya  Gazette.   There  is  no  judicial  review  of 
the  legality  of  detention.   A  board  appointed  by  the  President, 
meeting  in  camera,  reviews  detention  cases  every  6  months,  but 
its  recommendations  are  not  binding. 

The  Government  has  used  the  PPSA  repeatedly  in  recent  years  to 
silence  opposition.   The  issue  of  the  three  detainees  held 
under  the  Act  was  a  major  human  rights  issue  of  the  first  half 
of  1991.   Charles  Rubia  was  released  on  April  12,  Kenneth 
Matiba  on  June  8,  and  Raila  Odinga  on  June  21,  all  on  health 
grounds.   As  PPSA  detainees,  they  were  never  formally  charged. 
Rubia  and  Matiba  subsecjuently  sought  medical  treatment  abroad; 
Raila  Odinga  was  denied  a  passport  to  travel  for  treatment. 
Lawyers,  churchmen,  and  politicians  have  called  for  the 
abolition  of  the  PPSA,  but  the  law  remains  in  force. 

Former  MP  Koigi  Wa  Wamwere,  arrested  in  1990  on  charges  of 
treason,  remained  in  prison  throughout  1991  awaiting  trial. 
According  to  Kenyan  authorities,  Wamwere  was  arrested  in 
possession  of  a  secret  cache  of  arms,  which  he  intended  to  use 
to  overthrow  the  Kenyan  Government.   He  claims  to  have  been 
kidnaped  from  Uganda  and  brought  by  the  Kenyans  to  Nairobi, 
where  he  says  the  arms  were  planted  on  him.   On  December  16, 
Koigi 's  lawyers  protested  to  the  High  Court  that  all  7 
defendants  in  the  case  suffered  from  harsh  prison  conditions, 
including  solitary  confinement  23  hours  a  day,  a  substandard 
diet,  lack  of  family  visits,  and  cells  without  blankets  or 
mattresses . 

On  September  24,  the  police  arrested  Ahmed  Salim  Bamahriz,  a 
founding  member  of  the  Forum  for  the  Restoration  of  Democracy, 
in  Nairobi  after  President  Moi  publicly  called  for  harsh 
measures  against  troublemakers.   The  police  said  his  arrest  was 



unrelated  to  his  political  views  and  pertained  instead  to  an 
unspecified  criminal  matter  related  to  his  business  dealings. 
Bamahriz  was  taken  to  Mombasa,  questioned,  and  released. 

In  many  other  cases,  Kenyans  were  visited  and  questioned  by  the 
police  or  held  in  police  custody  for  periods  ranging  from  a  few 
hours  to  several  days  without  being  charged  or  officially 
detained  under  any  specific  authority.   The  purpose  seemed  to 
be  the  intimidation  of  critics  of  the  Government.   Several 
priests  and  ministers,  such  as  the  head  of  the  Kenya  National 
Evangelism  Fellowship  Church,  have  been  questioned  in  this 

From  May  8  to  10,  the  police  interrogated  the  82-year-old 
father  of  the  Reverend  Timothy  Njoya.   Njoya,  a  minister  of  the 
Presbyterian  Church  of  East  Africa  and  well  known  government 
critic,  later  issued  a  statement  saying  the  interrogation  was 
meant  to  pressure  his  father  to  disown  him. 

On  August  7,  the  police  picked  up  three  farmers  from  Nakuru 
district,  holding  and  questioning  them  for  a  week  for  allegedly 
belonging  to  an  antigovernment  political  party  and  recruiting 
other  members.   They  denied  all  these  charges,  and  one  claimed 
that  he  was  tortured  by  the  police. 

Traditionally,  the  Government  has  used  neither  exile  nor  the 
threat  of  exile  as  a  means  of  intimidation  or  punishment.   At 
the  end  of  October,  Raila  Odinga  fled  Kenya  after  government 
harassment  for  his  political  beliefs  and  received  asylum  in 
Norway.   In  1991  the  Government  appealed  to  politically 
motivated  emigres  abroad  to  return  to  join  in  Kenyan  nation 
building.   Early  in  1991,  some  of  the  exiles  asked  for 
government  guarantees  that  they  would  not  be  rearrested  on 
arrival.   Later  that  year,  some  of  them  indicated  they  wished 
to  return  as  a  result  of  the  restoration  of  multiparty 
democracy  to  Kenya.   According  to  press  accounts,  in  a  December 
18  speech  President  Moi  said  that  exiles  who  left  Kenya  without 
passports  should  not  expect  to  receive  them  now. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Kenya's  legal  system,  as  defined  in  the  Judicature  Act  of  1967, 
is  based  on  the  Constitution,  laws  passed  by  Parliament,  and 
common  law  or  court  precedent.   Customary  law  is  used  as  a 
guide  in  civil  matters  affecting  people  of  the  same  ethnic 
group  so  long  as  it  does  not  conflict  with  statutory  law. 
Kenya  does  not  have  the  jury  system.   The  court  system  consists 
of  the  Court  of  Appeals,  the  High  Court,  and  two  levels  of 
magistrates'  courts  where  most  criminal  and  civil  cases 
originate.   In  1989  Justice  Dugdale  decided  the  courts  have  no 
power  to  enforce  the  Kenyan  Bill  of  Rights.   Applications  for 
habeas  corpus  have  never  been  successful  in  the  High  Court. 

Civilians  are  tried  in  civilian  courts,  and  verdicts  may  be 
appealed  to  the  Kenyan  High  Court  and  ultimately  to  the  Court 
of  Appeals.   Kenyans  do  not  have  a  right  to  legal  counsel  at 
state  expense  except  in  certain  capital  cases.   Most  persons 
tried  for  capital  offenses  are  provided  counsel  free  of  charge 
if  they  cannot  afford  it.   Military  personnel  are  tried  by 
military  courts,  and  verdicts  may  be  appealed.   Attorneys  for 
military  personnel  are  appointed  on  a  case  by  case  basis  by  the 
Chief  Justice. 

The  President  has  extensive  powers  over  the  judiciary.   He 
appoints  the  Chief  Justice  and  the  Attorney  General  and 
appoints  High  Court  judges  with  the  advice  of  the  Judicial 



Service  Commission.   His  power  was  significantly  increased 
through  constitutional  amendments  adopted  in  1986  and  1988, 
which  gave  him  discretionary  authority  to  dismiss  judges,  the 
Attorney  General,  and  certain  other  officials.   In  late  1990, 
this  power  of  dismissal  was  restricted  when  Parliament  adopted 
a  constitutional  amendment  specifying  that  the  President  may 
only  dismiss  those  officials  upon  the  recommendation  of  a 
special,  presidentially  appointed  tribunal.   Some  hailed  this 
as  a  restoration  of  the  security  of  judicial  tenure,  but  many 
lawyers  criticized  it  as  inadequate  to  restore  judicial 
independence.   The  amendments  have  not  yet  been  tested  because 
there  has  been  no  government  effort  to  date  to  remove  from 
office  an  officer  affected. 

A  number  of  trials  stemming  from  Kenya's  sedition  laws  were 
concluded  in  1991.   The  Reverend  Lawford  Ndege  Imunde, 
convicted  of  seditious  publication  on  the  strength  of  a  private 
diary  entry,  had  his  sentence  commuted  to  time  served,  although 
the  conviction  was  not  overturned. 

Press  reporting  of  the  sedition  trial  of  George  Anyona  and  his 
three  codefendants  underlined  the  problematic  character  of  the 
verdict,  which  was  based  on  circumstantial  evidence.   Anyona 
and  his  three  codefendants  met  in  a  bar  on  July  11,  1990,  just 
after  Nairobi  was  shaken  by  rioting  on  July  7.   The  men  were 
arrested,  charged  with  plotting  the  overthrow  of  the 
Government,  and  held  without  bail  for  a  year. 

When  the  trial  was  concluded  in  July  1991,  all  four  men  were 
convicted  and  given  7-year  sentences.   The  prosecution 
maintained  that  the  defendants  met  in  a  private  room  to  discuss 
the  overthrow  of  the  Government,  but  no  witnesses  came  forward 
to  substantiate  this  claim.   The  Government's  case  depended  on 
documents,  found  in  the  possession  of  the  accused,  which  were 
held  to  be  seditious.   One  was  a  piece  of  paper  with  the  words 
"Charles"  and  "Ken;"  the  prosecution  said  the  words  referred  to 
Charles  Matiba  and  Kenneth  Rubia,  two  of  the  detainees  released 
in  1991.   The  other  most  incriminating  piece  of  evidence  was 
the  so-called  shadow  cabinet  list,  a  list  of  government 
positions  paired  with  the  names  of  government  critics.   The 
prosecution  held  that  the  list  demonstrated  plans  to  overthrow 
the  Government  and  replace  ministerial  positions  from  the  ranks 
of  the  ant i government  activists;  the  defense  said  the  document 
was  a  crude  forgery  planted  on  Anyona  by  the  police.   Under 
Kenyan  law,  any  publication  calculated  to  excite  "hatred  or 
disaffection"  toward  the  Government  is  deemed  seditious.   Some 
of  the  publications  found  in  the  possession  of  the  accused  and 
alleged  to  be  seditious  have  never  been  banned  in  Kenya. 
Anyona  and  his  codefendants  appealed  their  convictions.   The 
case  is  to  be  heard  in  February  1992. 

Defendants  have  occasionally  been  denied  the  right  to  employ 
legal  counsel  of  their  choice.   Kenya  theoretically  permits  all 
commonwealth  lawyers  to  practice  and  also  employs  British 
judges,  including  the  Chief  Justice.   Yet  in  1991  two 
defendants,  Mirugi  Kariuki  and  Paul  Muite,  were  denied  the 
right  to  employ  British  barristers  in  their  defense. 

In  some  cases,  legislation  precludes  a  fair  trial.   A  relic  of 
the  colonial  period,  the  Chief's  Authority  Act  gives  low-level 
administration  officials,  called  chiefs,  wide-ranging  powers, 
including  the  power  to  arrest  and  hold  persons  and  to  restrict 
a  person's  movement  without  trial.   The  Kenya  Law  Reform 
Commission  has  recommended  that  the  law  be  abolished. 

50-726  -  92 



f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

Generally,  judicially  issued  search  warrants  are  required  and 
obtained,  but  searches  without  warrants  are  allowed  under  the 
Constitution  in  certain  instances  "to  promote  the  public 
benefit,"  including  in  security  cases.   Security  officials  also 
conduct  searches  without  warrants  to  apprehend  suspected 
criminals  or  to  seize  property  suspected  to  be  stolen.   Homes 
of  suspected  dissidents  have  been  searched  without  warrants, 
and  evidence  so  obtained  has  been  admissible  to  support 

Security  forces  reportedly  employ  a  variety  of  surveillance 
techniques,  including  electronic  surveillance  and  a  network  of 
informers.   Political  activists  have  been  subject  to  police 
surveillance  as  have  some  of  their  visitors.   Paul  Muite, 
Gitobu  Imanyara,  and  ex-detainee  Raila  Odinga  all  experienced 
physical  attacks  which  appear  to  have  had  a  political 
motivation.   In  the  most  serious  of  these  incidents,  Raila 
Odinga,  while  driving  family  members  in  his  car,  was  hit  by  a 
stone  and  subsequently  required  hospitalization.   Former  Vice 
President  Oginga  Odinga  alleges  that  an  unsuccessful  break-in 
of  his  house  in  May  was  an  attempt  to  plant  arms  in  his  house 
prior  to  his  arrest.   At  the  time  of  Gitobu  Imanyara 's  arrest 
in  March,  on  the  grounds  of  seditious  publication  (Section 
2.a.),  both  his  home  and  the  offices  of  the  Nairobi  Law  Monthly 
were  searched  without  a  warrant. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  speech  and  press  and 
outlaws  discrimination  against  any  Kenyan  on  grounds  of 
political  opinion.   However,  there  are  numerous  restrictions 
and  inhibitions  on  the  exercise  of  free  speech,  although  they 
are  not  consistently  effective.   The  legality  of  the  Nairobi 
Law  Monthly  has  been  upheld;  and  some  public  figures, 
churchmen,  and  former  Members  of  Parliament,  have  spoken 
vigorously  against  the  Government.   A  number  of  prosecutions 
for  sedition  were  withdrawn  in  1991,  but  enough  were  carried 
through  to  create  a  climate  in  which  free  debate  is  discouraged 
and  sometimes  penalized.   Kenyans  have  been  charged  with  such 
offenses  as  wearing  a  badge  with  a  V  symbol,  which  was 
interpreted  as  "creating  a  disturbance"  by  seeming  to  advocate 
multiparty  politics.   In  another  case,  a  woman  was  charged  with 
creating  a  disturbance  for  saying  that  there  is  "no  justice" 
under  the  present  Government.   Some  small  businesses  in  Kenya 
have  been  fined  by  the  police  for  the  offense  of  operating 
without  displaying  a  picture  of  the  President,  even  though  no 
law  requires  such  display. 

Free  speech  and  association  in  Kenya  is  also  inhibited  by  an 
atmosphere  of  repression  created  when  KANU  and  government 
officials  make  public  statements  threatening  violence  or 
repression  against  dissidents.   At  a  public  rally.  Minister  of 
Energy  Biwott  threatened  that  if  Paul  Muite  were  jailed  he 
"might  not  come  out  alive."   President  Moi  himself  publicly 
called  on  KANU  members  to  "act  as  agitators,"  and  on  another 
occasion  to  deal  firmly  with  troublemakers.   In  September,  as 
tensions  role  in  anticipation  of  the  planned  October  5 
demonstration.  Energy  Minister  Biwott  and  19  Rift  Valley  M.P.s 
threatened  in  a  rally  to  "crush"  the  Forum  for  the  Restoration 
of  Democracy  (FORD)  and  told  the  populace  to  "arm  themselves" 



against  FORD.   At  a  similar  rally.  Minister  of  State  Barudi 
Nabwera  urged  KANU  youthwingers  to  "do  the  needful,"  a  clear 
threat,  if  they  encountered  FORD  organizers. 

One  television  station  and  all  radio  stations  are  owned  and 
controlled  by  the  Government.   A  second  television  station  is 
owned  by  KANU  and  adheres  to  self-imposed  guidelines.   The 
KANU-owned  outlet  carries  Cable  News  Network  programs, 
generally  without  restriction,  although  at  times  stories  about 
Kenya  have  been  deleted.   Privately  owned  newspapers  and 
journals  are  published  in  Kenya,  and  there  is  no  systematic 
censorship  of  the  press.   However,  in  early  1991  some 
publications  were  seized,  and  until  late  1991  the  press 
practiced  self-censorship  and  confined  its  commentary  within 
usually  understood  but  legally  undefined  limits.   Further, 
press  members  were  subject  to  intimidation  by  persons 
associated  with  the  Government.   Despite  these  limitations, 
Kenyan  press  reporting  on  local  issues  remains  spirited,  and, 
after  the  constitutional  changes  in  late  1991,  there  was  a 
significant  increase  in  press  commentary  critical  of  the 
Government  and,  most  notably,  the  President. 

Newspapers,  magazines,  and  books  from  abroad  are  readily 
available.   In  late  1991,  Kenya  ceased  to  exclude  individual 
editions  of  foreign  papers  which  contained  articles  critical  of 
Kenya.   More  than  100  foreign  journalists  representing  Western 
news  organizations  operate  from  Nairobi. 

Free  speech  won  a  notable  victory  in  Kenya  when  the  Attorney 
General  dropped  all  sedition  charges  against  Gitobu  Imanyara 
and  subsequently  lifted  the  ban  on  the  Nairobi  Law  Monthly. 
Imanyara  was  first  charged  with  sedition  in  1990  because  of  the 
Nairobi  Law  Monthly's  coverage  of  the  multiparty  debate. 
Imanyara  was  taken  into  custody  for  the  second  time  on  sedition 
charges  in  March,  when  the  Nairobi  Law  Monthly  published  an 
editorial  claiming  that  the  Government  distributed  jobs  in 
state-owned  companies  on  the  basis  of  ethnicity.   Imanyara 's 
printer  was  heavily  fined  for  pviblishing  the  magazine  without 
posting  a  legally  required  bond.   On  May  28,  following  strong 
domestic  and  international  criticism,  the  Government  released 
Imanyara  and  dropped  all  sedition  charges  against  him.   On  July 
4,  the  ban  on  the  Nairobi  Law  Monthly  was  officially  lifted, 
thus  upholding  an  October  1990  judgment  suspending  the  ban. 
Several  other  magazines,  however,  are  still  proscribed. 
Several  plays,  including  a  Kiswahili  translation  of  "Animal 
Farm"  and  a  Dario  Fo  play  about  a  rent  strike,  have  been 

Possession,  distribution,  or  publication  of  banned  writing  is 
subject  to  a  punishment  of  up  to  7  years'  imprisonment. 
Several  persons  were  charged  and  convicted  of  this  offense  in 
1991.   In  December,  after  the  announcement  of  the  change  to 
multipartyism,  the  press  continued  to  report  cases  of  citizens 
charged  with  the  possession  of  seditious  literature.   None  of 
these  cases  has  yet  come  to  court  since  the  constitutional 
change  was  recommended. 

Another  case  dramatizing  the  limits  of  free  speech  in  Kenya  was 
the  injunction  issued  by  the  High  Court  against  Paul  Muite, 
chairman  of  the  Law  Society  of  Kenya  (LSK)  and  other  members  of 
the  Law  Society  council.   Muite,  in  his  acceptance  speech  as 
chairman,  had  urged  the  registration  of  the  National  Democratic 
Party  (see  Section  2.b.). 



Progovernment  members  of  the  LSK  sought  the  injunction  against 
Muite  to  prevent  him  from  speaking  on  political  topics  in  his 
capacity  as  LSK  chairman.   In  May  Muite,  along  with  other  LSK 
council  members,  published  a  statement  criticizing  the  record 
of  legal  judgments  by  British  expatriate  judges,  including 
Justice  Dugdale.   Alleging  that  Muite  had  violated  the 
injunction  forbidding  him  to  pronounce  on  political  topics, 
four  lawyers  brought  an  action  for  contempt  of  court  against 
Muite.   To  do  so,  they  were  required  to  ask  the  duty  judge  for 
leave  for  the  action  to  go  forward;  the  judge  who  granted  leave 
was  Dugdale.   The  Attorney  General  has  stated  that  the 
Government  has  no  involvement  in  this  case  and  that  it  is 
private  suit  brought  by  one  group  of  lawyers  against  another. 
On  October  23,  the  Court  of  Appeal  found  Muite  and  his 
colleagues  guilty  of  contempt  of  court  for  disobeying  an 
injunction  prohibiting  them  from  making  political  statements. 
They  were  ordered  to  pay  a  fine  of  approximately  $350. 

b.   Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Freedom  of  assembly,  while  provided  for  in  the  Constitution,  is 
seriously  limited  by  the  Public  Order  and  Police  Act,  which 
gives  authorities  power  to  control  public  gatherings,  defined 
as  meetings  of  three  or  more  persons.   It  is  illegal  to  convene 
an  unlicensed  meeting.   The  ban  does  not  extend  to  persons 
meeting  on  church  property  for  religious  purposes.   On  April 
28,  the  Reverend  Timothy  Njoya  of  the  Presbyterian  Church  of 
East  Africa,  known  for  his  advocacy  of  multiparty  politics, 
held  an  open  air  prayer  meeting  without  a  license.   Before  the 
meeting  began,  police  in  riot  gear  confronted  the  gathering  of 
300  people.   Security  personnel  beat  up  several  journalists  and 
took  their  cameras,  and  government  figures  criticized  Njoya  for 
leading  his  parishioners  to  confrontation.   On  July  28,  the 
Church  of  the  Province  of  Kenya  (CPK)  and  the  Law  Society  of 
Kenya  proposed  to  call  believers  to  a  session  of  prayers  for 
peace  and  justice.   According  to  a  schedule  published 
beforehand,  the  prayers  were  to  cover  many  of  the  issues  on  the 
dissident  agenda.   The  Government  refused  a  request  for  a 
license  to  hold  a  procession  before  the  prayers,  and  the 
meeting  was  called  off  after  the  authorities  exerted 
considerable  pressure  on  the  churchmen. 

The  FORD  attempted  to  hold  an  unlicensed  political  meeting  on 
November  16.   A  number  of  FORD  members  and  presumed 
sympathizers  were  picked  up  before  the  day  of  the  meeting; 
others  were  arrested  on  their  way  to  the  meeting.   In  spite  of 
some  stone  throwing  clashes  with  the  police,  the  crowd  was 
essentially  peaceful.   At  least  87  people  were  arrested  for 
participating  in  the  banned  gathering  or  urging  others  to  do 
so.   Charges  against  most  of  the  FORD  members  and  prominent 
sympathizers  were  swiftly  dropped,  but  the  outcome  of  the 
charges  against  many  ordinary  citizens  arrested  in  connection 
with  the  rally  is  still  unclear.   After  the  announcement  of  the 
change  to  multiparty  democracy,  Nairobi  saw  a  number  of 
spontaneous  small  street  demonstrations  which  dispersed  on 
their  own  accord  without  police  intervention,  but  on  December  9 
the  police  broke  up  a  peaceful  pro-FORD  demonstration  and 
arrested  17  people.   However,  on  January  18,  1992,  the 
Government  authorized  a  FORD  rally  in  downtown  Nairobi.   Over 
100,000  persons  attended  the  event,  which  unfolded  peacefully. 

Freedom  of  association  is  governed  by  the  Societies  Act,  which 
states  that  every  association  must  be  registered  or  exempted 
from  registration  by  the  Registrar  of  Societies.   In  February 
Jaramogi  Oginga  Odinga,  Kenya's  first  Vice  President,  attempted 



to  register  a  new  political  party,  the  National  Democratic 
Party  (NDP) .   The  request  was  refused  under  section  2(A)  of  the 
Constitution,  which  makes  Kenya  a  one-party  state.   The  NDP 
argued  without  success  that  it  was  not  a  political  party  in  the 
proscribed  sense,  since  it  did  not  plan  to  field  electoral 
candidates,  but-  would  confine  itself  to  propagating  its  views 
on  political  topics,  especially  regarding  the  elimination  of 
section  2(A)  of  the  Constitution.   Later  in  the  year,  Oginga 
Odinga  joined  with  others  to  propose  a  new  grouping,  the  Forum 
for  the  Restoration  of  Democracy.   FORD  members  urged  Kenyans 
to  form  themselves  into  9-member  groups,  since  only 
associations  of  10  or  more  members  legally  require  registration. 

President  Moi  denounced  the  FORD  as  "the  NDP  in  disguise"  and 
termed  it  "illegal"  and  nonexistent.   One  FORD  organizer,  Ahmed 
Salim  Bamahriz,  is  an  elected  member  of  the  Mombasa  municipal 
council.   When  Bahmariz  announced  his  association  with  the 
FORD,  attempts  were  made  to  suspend  him  from  KANU  and  to  strip 
him  of  his  councillorship.   In  September  Bamahriz  and  other 
FORD  members  were  "deregistered"  from  KANU  by  the  KANU  special 
delegates'  conference.   There  is,  however,  no  provision  at  all 
for  deregistration  in  the  KANU  constitution.   KANU,  having 
agreed  under  pressure  in  1990  to  stop  expelling  members  as  a 
disciplinary  measure,  seems  to  be  looking  for  other  names  under 
which  to  achieve  the  same  effect:  suppressing  dissent  in  its 
ranks.   It  is  not  yet  clear  whether  expulsions  will  become  more 
or  less  common  now  that  Kenyans  are  legally  free  to  form  and 
join  parties  other  than  KANU. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Kenya  has  no  state  religion.   Freedom  of  worship  is 
acknowledged  in  the  Constitution  and  generally  allowed,  but 
churches  new  to  Kenya  must  obtain  government  approval  to  be 
registered.   Some  church  figures  have  voiced  concern  about  a 
new  bill  to  regulate  nongovernmental  organizations  (NGO's)  in 
Kenya,  which  might  impose  some  government  controls  over  church 
projects.   NGO's  will  henceforth  have  to  reregister  every  5 
years,  and  those  deemed  not  to  act  in  the  public  interest  may 
suffer  deregistration 

Throughout  1991  activist  churchmen  were  denounced  by  Parliament 
and  the  press,  and  the  organizers  of  the  abortive  July  28 
prayer  meeting,  sponsored  jointly  by  the  Law  Society  of  Kenya, 
the  Church  of  the  Province  of  Kenya,  and  the  National  Council 
of  Christian  Churches,  were  subjected  to  government  pressure 
(see  Section  2 .b. ) . 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Kenyans  may  travel  freely  within  the  country.   In  September 
several  Rift  Valley  politicians  attending  a  political  rally 
purported  to  "ban"  members  of  the  FORD  from  entering  the 
Valley.   They  threatened  reprisals  against  members  of  the 
Kikuyu  ethnic  group  and  multiparty  supporters  settled  in  the 
region.   Implementation  of  these  proposals  is  unlikely.   Kenyan 
law  gives  all  Kenyans  the  right  to  settle  and  conduct  business, 
which  includes  obtaining  land  titles,  in  any  area  of  the 

Kenya  does  not  generally  prohibit  emigration  of  its  citizens 
but  on  occasion  does  prevent  travel  abroad  by  critics  of  the 
Government.   The  Government  does  not  regard  issuance  of 
passports  to  citizens  as  a  right  and  reserves  the  authority  to 



issue  or  deny  passports  at  its  discretion.   In  1991  the 
Government  seized  or  declined  to  issue  passports  to  over  20 
Kenyans.   In  two  cases,  the  Government  seized  the  passports  of 
persons  returning  from  abroad  who  had  made  political  speeches 
during  their  trips. 

In  July  labor  leader  Dennis  Akumu  and  former  parliamentarian 
Martin  Shikuku  were  removed  from  an  aircraft  they  had  boarded 
to  travel  to  London.   Their  passports  were  not  taken,  but  their 
right  to  travel  was  denied  without  any  administrative  or 
judicial  proceeding. 

In  1991  large  numbers  of  Somali  and  Ethiopian  refugees  fled  to 
Kenya  after  their  governments  collapsed.   Kenya  has  accepted 
most  asylum  seekers,  though  sometimes  entry  is  delayed, 
resulting  in  hardship  and  denial  of  assistance,  and  many 
suffered  police  harassment.   Thirty-seven  Somali  asylxim  seekers 
drowned  when  the  Kenya  Navy  towed  their  boats  to  the  open  sea. 
(see  Section  l.a.). 

None  of  these  refugees  has  been  granted  legal  status  other  than 
that  of  asylum  seeker.   About  50,000  refugees  reside  in  camps, 
and  at  least  double  that  number  live  outside  the  camps,  in 
cities  as  well  as  rural  areas.   Refugees  outside  of  the  camps 
are  extremely  vulnerable  to  arrest.   Refugees  who  purchase  fake 
identity  papers  and  visas  put  themselves  even  further  at  risk. 
Conditions  in  the  camps  have  caused  several  riots,  one  of  which 
led  to  a  number  of  hospitalizations.   The  Government  promised 
to  investigate  the  incident  but  has  yet  to  do  so. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  in  1991  had  neither  the  right  nor  the  ability  to 
change  the  one  party  system  of  government  through  the  electoral 
process.   However,  the  year-end  recommendations  for 
constitutional  change  would  permit  multiparty  elections  by 
mid-1993  at  the  latest,  which,  if  conducted  freely  and  fairly, 
would  give  Kenyans  this  right.   At  year's  end,  it  was  not  clear 
whether  independent,  as  well  as  party-based  candidates,  would 
be  permitted  to  contest  the  elections.   Although  the  President 
said  that  each  electoral  district  will  be  contested  by  a  single 
KANU  candidate,  since  the  KANU  nomination  process  was  abolished 
in  June,  the  selection  mechanism  within  KANU  remained  unclear. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

There  are  no  local  organizations  solely  devoted  to 
investigating  human  rights  abuses,  but  the  Law  Society  of 
Kenya,  some  church  groups,  some  periodicals,  a  few 
organizations,  and  individual  attorneys  function  as  de  facto 
human  rights  monitors.   However,  through  most  of  1991  they 
faced  serious  obstacles,  including  harsh  government  criticism, 
restrictions  on  free  speech  and  assembly,  and,  in  some  cases, 
torture  and  harassment  by  the  police  (see  Section  l.a.).   The 
Government  reacts  negatively  to  criticism  of  its  human  rights 
record,  at  home  and  abroad,  and  through  its  accusations  of 
association  with  "foreign  masters"  discourages  Kenyans  from 
providing  outside  human  rights  groups  with  information. 



Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Kenya's  Constitution  and  laws  prohibit  discrimination  on  the 
basis  of  race,  sex,  religion,  language,  or  social  status. 
However,  the  situation  of  Kenyans  of  Somali  ethnic  origin  is  a 
major  concern.   Ethnic  Somalis  are  the  only  ethnic  group  in 
Kenya  for  which  the  Government  requires  an  additional  form  of 
identification,  stating  that  they  are  Kenyan  citizens. 

In  1990  the  Government  reqiiired  that  ethnic  Somalis  have  their 
claim  to  Kenyan  citizenship  verified  through  a  "screening" 
process  involving  verification  by  a  panel  of  Somali  elders. 
This  screening  effort  continued  through  the  first  3  months  of 
1990  and  then  was  phased  out,  although  its  practical  effects 
remained.   The  screening  has  been  widely  criticized  as 
discriminatory,  unconstitutional,  and  without  basis  in  law. 
Ethnic  Somalis  must  still  produce  upon  demand  their  Kenyan 
identification  card  and  a  second  identification  verifying 
"screening."   Both  cards  are  also  required  to  apply  for  a 
passport,  and  airlines  have  been  required  to  submit  passports 
held  by  Kenyan  Somalis  for  verification  before  issuing  tickets 
to  such  persons. 

Members  of  all  ethnic  groups  may  run  for  office,  and  ethnic 
representation  at  the  minister  and  assistant  minister  level  is 
broad.   The  Asian  community,  numbering  about  65,000,  accounts 
for  a  disproportionate  share  of  the  nation's  economic  wealth 
and  output,  but  very  few  Asians  participate  in  electoral 
politics.   The  Kikuyu  remain  the  largest  and  richest  ethnic 
group  in  Kenya.   But  anti-Kikuyu  language  from  ministers  and 
other  officials  entered  the  public  domain  in  1991  without 
official  rebuke,  particularly  in  connection  with  Kikuyu  land 
purchases  in  areas  traditionally  inhabited  by  other  tribes. 

While  there  is  no  legal  discrimination  against  women, 
traditional  culture  and  attitudes  have  long  prescribed  limited 
roles  for  women.   Women's  roles  are  particularly  restricted  in 
rural  areas  where  they  account  for  75  percent  of  the  total 
agricultural  work  force.   Rural  families  are  more  reluctant  to 
invest  in  educating  girls  than  in  educating  boys,  especially  at 
the  higher  levels.   The  number  of  girls  and  boys  in  school  are 
roughly  equal  at  the  primary  and  secondary  levels,  but  men 
outnumber  women  by  almost  two  to  one  in  higher  education. 

Though  women  are  increasingly  active  in  the  modern  economy,  the 
number  of  women  in  professional  roles  is  still  limited.   The 
number  of  female  unemployed  is  double  that  of  men.   Women 
sometimes  receive  lower  rates  of  pay  than  men  performing  the 
same  job,  and  disparities  in  fringe  benefits  occur,  e.g.,  some 
businesses  give  housing  allowances  to  men  but  not  to  married 
women.   Women  are  legally  able  to  own  property  and  businesses. 

Polygamy  is  not  legal  for  people  married  under  the  Christian 
Marriage  Act,  but  it  is  permitted  for  those  who  marry  under 
African  customary  law.   Kenya's  law  of  succession,  which 
governs  inheritance  rights,  provides  for  equal  treatment  of 
male  and  female  children. 

The  Government  strongly  condemns  extreme  violence  towards 
women,  specifically  murder,  female  circumcision,  rape,  and 
incest.   In  many  cases,  rapists,  particularly  of  minors,  are 
given  sentences  of  up  to  14  years  in  prison.   However,  the 
ambivalence  of  Kenyans  to  the  abuse  of  women  was  graphically 
demonstrated  by  the  public  response  to  a  case  of  multiple  rape 



and  manslaughter  at  St.  Kizito  boarding  school.   In  July,  on  a 
Saturday  night  when  few  teachers  or  staff  were  at  the  school,  a 
group  of  50  adolescent  boys  attending  St.  Kizito  broke  into  the 
crowded  dormitory  housing  their  female  contemporaries.   In  the 
panic  that  ensued,  19  girls  suffocated,  and  71  were  raped. 
Despite  public  expressions  of  horror  at  the  event,  many  Kenyans 
acknowledge  that  rapes  are  frequent  in  Kenyan  schools.   This 
seems  borne  out  by  a  published  comment  by  the  principal  of  the 
school,  who  said:   "The  boys  meant  no  harm,  they  just  wanted  to 
rape. " 

Domestic  violence  occurs  in  Kenya,  but  little  information  is 
available  on  the  extent  of  the  problem.   In  practice,  most 
cases  of  domestic  violence  are  settled  outside  of  the  courts. 
The  maximum  legal  penalty  for  wife  beating  is  5  years  in 
prison.   Women  may  also  sue  for  civil  damages.   Female 
circumcision  is  illegal  but  still  practiced  by  some  Kenyan 
ethnic  groups  on  girls  under  the  age  of  16.   The  Government 
officially  discourages  the  practice  but  leaves  it  to  women's 
groups  to  actively  oppose  female  circumcision  through  health 
education  programs.   Murder  or  manslaughter  charges  are  brought 
when  circumcisions  result  in  death.   There  are  press  reports  of 
both  male  and  female  community-forced  circumcisions,  but 
charges  are  never  brought  in  such  cases. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Save  for  the  central  Government's  civil  servants,  all  workers 
are  free  to  join  unions  of  their  own  choosing.   The  law 
provides  that  as  few  as  seven  workers  may  establish  a  union, 
provided  the  objectives  of  the  union  do  not  contravene  Kenyan 
law  and  another  union  is  not  already  representative  of  the 
employees  in  question.   The  Government  may  deregister  a  union, 
but  the  Registrar  of  Trade  Unions  must  give  the  union  60  days 
to  challenge  the  deregistration  notice;  an  appeal  of  the 
Registrar's  final  decision  may  be  brought  before  the  High 
Court.   The  Kenya  Civil  Servants  Union  was  deregistered  more 
than  10  years  ago  by  President  Moi. 

There  are  at  least  33  unions  in  Kenya  representing 
approximately  350,0000  to  385,000  workers,  or  3  percent  of  the 
country's  work  force.   Except  for  the  150,000-165,000  teachers 
believed  to  be  members  of  the  Kenya  National  Union  of  Teachers 
and  four  other  smaller  unions,  which  have  been  registered  by 
the  Government,  all  other  unions  are  affiliated  with  one 
central  body,  the  Central  Organization  of  Trade  Unions  (COTU) . 
The  Government  created  COTU  in  1965  as  the  successor  to  both 
the  Kenya  Federation  of  Labor  and  the  Kenya  African  Workers 
Congress.   This  amalgamation  was  effected  allegedly  to 
eliminate  instability  and  rivalries  within  the  nation's  trade 
union  movement . 

COTU  is  independent  of  the  Government  and  KANU  in  name  only. 
The  1965  decree  establishing  COTU  gives  the  President  the  power 
to  remove  from  office  the  central  body's  senior  leaders.   Rule 
5  of  the  COTU  constitution  accords  nonvoting  membership  on  the 
executive  board  (COTU' j  managing  body)  to  a  representative  of 
the  Labor  Ministry  as  well  as  of  KANU.   Moreover,  COTU  and  its 
Secretary  General  Joseph  Mugalla  are  firmly  allied  with  the 
President  and  KANU  against  those  who  advocate  greater 
democratization.   In  June,  seeking  to  keep  pliant  unionists  in 
office,  the  President  offered  to  underwrite  the  costs  of  union 
elections  which  he  had  announced  some  5  months  earlier.   At 



year's  end,  Mugalla  was  reelected  Secrete «:y  General,  but  his 
opponents  declared  their  intention  to  form  a  rival 
Confederation.   The  Court  of  Appeals  enjoined  the  Registrar 
from  certifying  the  election  pending  a  hearing  on  a  suit 
brought  by  the  opponents . 

The  Trade  Disputes  Act  permits  workers  to  strike  provided  that 
21  days  have  elapsed  following  the  submission  to  the  Minister 
of  Labor  of  a  written  report  detailing  the  nature  of  the 
dispute.   During  this  21-day  period,  the  Minister  may  either 
mediate  the  dispute  himself,  nominate  a  person  to  investigate 
and  propose  a  solution,  or  refer  the  matter  to  the  Industrial 
Court,  a  body  of  five  judges  appointed  by  the  President,  for 
binding  arbitration.   Once  a  dispute  is  referred  to  either 
meditation,  fact  finding,  or  arbitration,  any  subsequent  strike 
is  illegal. 

The  military,  police,  prison  guards,  and  members  of  the 
National  Youth  Service  are  precluded  by  law  from  striking. 
Under  the  Trade  Disputes  Act,  other  civil  servants,  like  their 
private  sector  counterparts,  may  strike  following  the  21-day 
notice  period  (28  days  if  it  is  an  essential  service,  e.g. , 
water,  health,  education,  air  traffic  control).   However,  the 
Labor  Minister  may  at  any  time  preempt  a  strike  involving  civil 
servants  by  referring  the  dispute  to  the  Industrial  Court  for 
resolution.   Save  for  the  wildcat  strikes  involving  the  bank 
employees  in  November  and  Mombasa's  dockworkers  in  December, 
there  were  no  significant  strikes  in  1991. 

Internationally,  COTU  is  now  affiliated  to  both  the 
continentwide  Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity  and  the 
International  Confederation  of  Free  Trade  Unions.   Its 
affiliates  are  free  to  establish  links  to  international  trade 
secretariats  of  their  choosing.   A  veteran  trade  union  leader, 
associated  with  the  political  opposition,  however,  was 
prevented  from  leaving  the  country  in  June  (see  Section  2.d.). 

b.   The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

While  not  having  the  force  of  law,  the  1962  Industrial 
Relations  Charter,  executed  by  the  Government,  COTU,  and  the 
Federation  of  Kenya  Employers,  gives  workers  the  right  to 
engage  in  legitimate  trade  union  organizational  activities. 
Both  the  Trade  Disputes  Act  and  the  Charter  authorize 
collective  bargaining  between  unions  and  employers.   Wages  and 
conditions  of  employment  are  established  in  the  context  of 
negotiations  between  unions  and  management.   The  Government  has 
promulgated  wage  policy  guidelines  limiting  wage  increases  to 
75  percent  of  the  annual  rate  of  inflation.   Collective 
bargaining  agreements  must  be  registered  with  the  Industrial 
Court  for  the  purpose  of  guaranteeing  adherence  to  these 
guidelines.   In  1990  there  were  1,875  agreements  registered 
with  the  court.   Some  1  million  workers  (union  and  nonunion) 
were  covered  by  these  accords. 

The  Trade  Disputes  Act  makes  it  illegal  for  employers  to 
intimidate  workers.   Employees  wrongfully  dismissed  for  union 
activities  are  generally  awarded  damages  in  the  form  of  lost 
wages  by  the  Industrial  Court;  reinstatement  is  not  a  common 
remedy.   This  is  due  in  large  measure  to  the  fact  that  most 
aggrieved  workers  have  found  alternative  employment  in  the 
lengthy  period  prior  to  the  hearing  of  their  cases. 

While  legislation  authorizing  the  creation  of  export  processii^ 
zones  was  passed  in  November  1990,  such  entities  have  been  slow 



to  get  off  the  ground.   The  first  such  zone,  developed  by  a 
subsidiary  of  Firestone  East  Africa,  has  only  succeeded  in 
attracting  a  few  investors.   The  Government  has  yet  to  decide 
definitively  whether  the  provisions  of  the  Trade  Disputes  Act, 
the  Trade  Unions  Act,  or  the  Regulation  of  Wages  and  Conditions 
of  Employment  Act  will  be  extended  to  the  zone  (see  also 
Section  6.e. ) . 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

The  Constitution  proscribes  slavery,  servitude,  and  forced 
labor.   Under  the  Chiefs'  Authority  Act,  a  local  authority  can 
require  people  to  perform  community  services  in  an  emergency, 
but  there  were  no  known  instances  of  this  practice  in  1991. 
People  so  employed  must  be  paid  the  prevailing  wage  for  such 
employment.   The  International  Labor  Organization  (ILO) 
Committee  of  Experts  (COE)  has  found  these  and  other  provisions 
of  Kenyan  law  to  contravene  ILO  Conventions  29  and  105 
concerning  forced  labor.   The  COE's  1991  report  noted  the 
Government's  intention  to  repeal  or  amend  the  offending 
provisions  of  the  law  in  order  to  bring  them  into  compliance 
with  the  Conventions.   The  Government,  however,  has  not  given  a 
definite  timetable  for  the  introduction  of  remedial  legislation. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  Employment  Act  of  1976  proscribes  the  employment  in  any 
industrial  undertaking  of  children  under  the  age  of  16.   This 
enactment  applies  neither  to  the  agricultural  sector,  where  the 
overwhelming  majority  of  the  labor  force  is  employed,  nor  to 
children  serving  as  apprentices  under  the  terms  of  the 
Industrial  Training  Act.   Ministry  of  Labor  officers  are 
authorized  to  enforce  the  minimum  age  statute.   Given  the  high 
levels  of  adult  unemployment  and  underemployment,  the 
employment  of  children  in  the  formal  wage  sector  in  violation 
of  the  Employment  Act  is  not  a  significant  problem. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  legal  minimum  wage  for  workers  in  the  wage  sector  varies  by 
location,  age,  and  skills.   On  May  10,  the  minimum  wage  was 
raised  an  average  of  16  percent.   At  the  bottom  rung  of  the 
adult  minimum  wage  scale  is  the  rural  general  laborer;  the 
highest  minimum  was  paid  in  Nairobi  and  Mombasa  to  drivers  of 
heavy  commercial  vehicles.   Violations  of  the  minimum  wage 
guidelines  are  not  a  recurring  problem  in  the  modern  wage 
sector.   Despite  nominal  wage  increases,  inflation  over  20 
percent  and  the  precipitous  decline  in  the  shilling's  value 
substantially  eroded  workers'  living  standards  during  1991. 
Most  workers  continued  to  lead  the  most  marginal  of  existences. 

The  Regulation  of  Wages  and  Conditions  of  Employment  Act  limits 
the  normal  workweek  to  52  hours.   Nighttime  employees,  however, 
may  be  employed  for  60  hours  a  week.   As  is  the  case  with 
respect  to  minimum  age  limitations,  the  Act  specifically 
excludes  agricultural  workers  from  its  purview.   An  employee  in 
the  nonagricultural  sector  is  entitled  to  1  rest  day  in  a 
week.   There  are  also  provisions  for  annual  leave  and  sick 
leave.   Concerning  limits  on  overtime,  Kenyan  law  provides  that 
the  total  hours  worked  (i.e.,  regular  time  plus  overtime)  in 
any  2-week  period  by  night  workers  may  not  exceed  144  hours; 
the  limit  is  120  hours  for  other  workers.   The  Ministry  of 
Labor  is  tasked  with  enforcing  these  regulations,  but  reported 
violations  are  few. 



The  Factories  Act  of  1951  sets  forth  detailed  health  and  safety 
standards;  the  Act  was  amended  in  1990  to  encompass  the 
agriculture,  service,  and  government  sectors.   The  65  health 
and  safety  inspec.tors  attached  to  the  Ministry  of  Labor's 
Directorate  of  Occupational  Health  and  Safety  Services  have  the 
authority  to  inspect  factories  and  work  sites  if  they  have 
reason  to  believe  that  a  violation  of  the  Act  has  occurred,  or 
upon  receipt  of  a  complaint  from  a  worker .   As  a  result  of  the 
1990  amendments,  the  Directorate's  inspectors  may  now  issue 
notices  enjoining  employers  from  practices  or  activities  which 
involve  a  risk  of  serious  personal  injuries.   Previously,  only 
magistrates  were  vested  with  this  authority. 

Such  notices  may  be  appealed  to  the  Factories  Appeals  Court,  a 
body  of  four  members,  one  of  whom  must  be  a  High  Court  judge. 
In  practice,  inspectors,  who  conduct  2,000  to  3,000  inspections 
annually,  generally  respond  only  to  worker  complaints. 
"Whistle  blowers"  are  not  protected  by  the  Factories  Act.   On 
May  31,  the  Government  exempted  enterprises  in  the  export 
processing  zones  from  the  occupational  health  and  safety 
requirements  of  the  Factories  Act. 



Lesotho  has  been  ruled  by  a  six-member  Military  Council  since  a 
coup  d'etat  in  1986  which  overthrew  the  single-party  rule  of 
Prime  Minister  Leabua  Jonathan.   The  Council  Chairman,  Major 
General  J.  M.  Lekhanya,  was  ousted  on  April  30,  1991,  in  an 
internal  struggle  which  caused  the  dismissal  of  another  Council 
member  and  the  firing  of  two  civilian  members  of  the  Cabinet. 
Colonel  (now  Major  General)  Elias  Phisoana  Ramaema  was  chosen 
by  fellow  officers  in  the  armed  forces  to  become  the  new 
Military  Council  Chairman.   Sworn  in  on  May  3,  the  new  Council 
of  Ministers  is  comprised  of  seven  military  officers  and  seven 
civilians;  there  are  two  civilian  assistant  ministers. 

The  Military  Council  rules  by  decree,  while  the  Council  of 
Ministers  administers  the  day-to-day  operations  of  government. 
Shortly  after  assiiming  office.  Council  Chairman  Ramaema  lifted 
the  1986  ban  on  partisan  political  activity  and  reaffirmed 
plans  to  restore  constitutional  rule — abolished  in  1970  by 
former  Prime  Minister  Jonathan — by  1992.   The  National 
Constituent  Assembly,  first  convened  in  mid-1990,  completed  its 
revisions  to  the  1966  independence  Constitution  in  early  July 
and  met  again  in  late  September  to  establish  a  constitutional 
commission  to  solicit  public  comments  on  the  revised  text, 
prior  to  final  ratification  of  the  document. 

The  Royal  Lesotho  Defense  Force  (RLDF)  of  about  2,000  troops  is 
responsible  for  internal  and  border  security.   The  RLDF  is 
assisted  by  a  police  force  of  about  1,600  men  and  women. 
Members  of  both  forces  occasionally  beat  or  otherwise  mistreat 
detainees . 

A  landlocked  country  completely  surrounded  by  South  Africa, 
Lesotho  is  almost  entirely  dependent  on  its  sole  neighbor  for 
trade,  finance,  employment,  and  access  to  the  outside  world. 
Approximately  55  percent  of  the  adult  male  labor  force  is 
employed  in  South  Africa's  mines,  and  remittances  from  workers 
(more  than  $230  million  in  1988)  are  a  critical  factor  in 
financing  imports.   Economic  recession  in  South  Africa  has  led 
to  retrenchments  in  the  mines  and  a  sharp  rise  in  unemployment 
in  Lesotho. 

Human  rights  in  Lesotho  in  1991  remained  circumscribed  under 
the  military  government,  but  certain  aspects  of  the  situation 
improved  over  previous  years.   There  was  some  progress  toward 
political  and  constitutional  reform  and  in  increased  freedom  of 
speech,  assembly,  and  association.   However,  police  brutality 
continued,  and  the  security  forces  used  excessive  force  in 
quelling  anti-Asian  riots  in  May,  in  which  many  persons  were 
killed.   No  charges  were  brought  against  those  responsible. 
Other  major  problems  included  provisions  for  lengthy  detention 
and  severe  restrictions  on  women's  rights.   At  year's  end,  it 
was  still  too  early  to  tell  how  the  Government's  reform  program 
would  be  implemented,  whether  it  would,  in  fact,  result  in 
citizens'  ability  to  change  their  government,  and  what  effect 
it  would  have  on  the  observance  of  other  human  rights. 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

Some  extrajudicial  killings  continued  to  occur.   Excesses  by 
law  enforcement  agencies  continued,  including  fatal  shootings 



in  May  by  police  and  army  personnel  attempting  to  quell  violent 
anti-Asian  riots  which  broke  out  in  Maseru  and  spread  to  other 
towns  in  the  western  lowlands.   Official  figures  put  the  death 
toll  at  35;   other  reports  indicated  as  many  as  80  or  more  may 
have  lost  their  lives.   No  charges  are  known  to  have  been 
brought  in  those  instances . 

In  mid-March  judgment  was  handed  down  by  the  Chief  Justice  of 
the  High  Court  in  the  trial  of  two  military  men  accused  of  the 
1986  murders  of  two  former  cabinet  ministers  and  their  wives. 
Sergeant  Ngoana-ngoana  Lerotholi  was  found  guilty  of  murder, 
and  Colonel  Sekhobe  Letsie  (a  former  member  of  the  ruling 
Military  Council)  was  found  guilty  as  an  accessory  after  the 
fact.   Both  received  several  concurrent  sentences,  with  Sgt. 
Lerotholi  given  the  death  sentence  (see  Section  I.e.). 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  politically  related  disappearances  in 
1991,  nor  were  there  any  further  instances  of  reported 
abductions  by  South  African  authorities  in  Lesotho,  as  occurred 
in  previous  years . 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Reports  of  police  brutality,  including  beatings  of  detainees, 
continued  during  1991.   There  were  a  disturbing  number  of 
reports  of  random  beatings  of  civilians  by  police  or  military 
personnel,  especially  in  the  immediate  aftermath  of  the 
violence  in  late  May.   No  known  investigations  or  other 
official  measures  were  launched  as  a  result  of  these 
practices.   Prison  facilities  in  Lesotho  are  overcrowded  and  in 
need  of  repair.   One  report  indicated  a  prisoner  was  held  in  a 
bathroom  ankle-deep  in  water  because  all  available  cells  were 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

In  civil  and  criminal  cases,  persons  arrested  or  detained  have, 
and  avail  themselves  of,  the  right  to  immediate  consideration 
of  habeas  corpus  appeals  as  well  as  the  right  to  legal  and 
medical  counsel.   The  1981  Criminal  Procedures  and  Evidence 
Act,  as  amended  in  1984,  makes  provision  for  the  granting  of 
bail.   Under  the  Act,  the  High  Court  is  the  only  judicial  body 
empowered  to  grant  bail  in  cases  of  armed  robbery  or  suspected 

The  Internal  Security  (General)  Act  (ISA)  of  1984  provides  for 
so-called  investigative  detention  without  charge  or  trial  in 
political  cases  for  up  to  42  days  (the  first  14  days  on  order 
of  the  police;  the  second  14  days  on  order  of  the  police 
commissioner;  and  the  final  14  days  on  order  of  the  Minister  of 
Defense  and  Internal  Security) .   During  the  second  stage  of  the 
detention,  ministerially  appointed  "advisers"  (all  of  whom  have 
been  government  employees  to  date)  are  available  to  report  on 
the  health  of  the  detainee,  investigate  whether  the  detainee 
has  been  involved  in  subversive  activities,  and  advise  the 
Minister  of  Defense  and  Internal  Security  whether  there  is  a 
need  for  continued  detention.   Detainees  under  the  Act  may  make 
representation  about  their  own  treatment  only  through  the 
adviser.   The  Act  also  allows  for  detention  of  witnesses  in 
security  cases. 



In  addition,  a  1986  amendment  to  the  ISA  allows  the  Minister  of 
Defense  and  Internal  Security  (currently  the  Chairman  of  the 
Military  Council)  to  "restrict"  a  person  who,  in  the  opinion  of 
the  police  commissioner,  is  conducting  himself  in  a  manner 
prejudicial  to  public  order,  security,  administration  of 
justice,  or  obedience  to  the  law  or  lawful  authority.   In 
mid-1991  former  Military  Council  Chairman  Lekhanya  was  first 
limited  to  an  8-kilometer  radius  from  his  home  near  Maseru  and 
then  restricted  to  the  bounds  of  the  property  itself.   No 
reasons  were  made  public  for  imposition  of  the  latter 
restriction  in  August,  nor  for  its  removal  in  September. 

An  independent  journalist,  Johnny  wa  ka  Maseko,  who  was 
expelled  from  Lesotho  in  1988  for  printing  reports  alleging 
high-level  corruption,  was  allowed  to  return  to  the  country  in 
July  following  the  change  of  government  in  early  May.   A  South 
African  lawyer,  who  was  expelled  in  1986,  has  also  been 
permitted  to  return  to  Lesotho  and  has  resumed  his  law  practice 
in  Maseru. 

Following  his  dispute  with  the  Military  Council  in  February 
1990  and  his  subsecjuent  exile  in  London,  ex-King  Moshoeshoe  II 
remained  outside  the  country  throughout  1991.   The  relaxation 
of  restrictions  on  political  activity  in  mid-May  opened  the  way 
for  a  proroyalist  party  to  advocate  publicly  for  the  former 
King's  return,  and  an  active  debate  on  the  issue  took  place  in 
the  opposition  press.   The  Government  has  repeatedly  said  the 
former  monarch  may  return,  as  a  private  citizen,  without  other 
conditions . 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Piiblic  Trial 

The  judiciary  consists  of  the  Court  of  Appeal  (which  meets 
semiannually),  the  High  Court,  magistrate's  courts,  and 
customary  or  traditional  courts,  which  exist  largely  in  rural 
areas  to  administer  customary  law.   Judges  on  the  High  Court 
are  relatively  independent;  however,  the  Chief  Justice,  an 
expatriate  who  serves  a  2-year  appointment,  may  be  under  some 
pressure  to  act  in  ways  that  will  ensure  reappointment. 
Magistrates  appear  more  susceptible  to  governmental  influence. 
Court  decisions  and  rulings  are  respected  by  the  authorities 
and  are  generally  free  of  interference  by  the  executive. 
Accused  persons  have  and  use  the  right  to  counsel  and  public 
trials.   The  courts  have  acted  to  limit  infringements  of  law  on 
numerous  occasions  in  past  years,  e.g.,  the  April  1988 
annulment  on  procedural  grounds  of  the  State  of  Emergency, 
which,  however,  the  Government  quickly  reinstituted. 

Under  the  system  of  Roman-Dutch  law  applied  in  Lesotho,  there 
is  no  trial  by  jury.   Criminal  trials  are  normally  adjudicated 
by  a  single  High  Court  judge  who  presides  with  two  assessors, 
who  serve  in  an  advisory  capacity.   In  civil  cases,  judges 
normally  hear  cases  alone.   The  High  Court  also  provides 
procedural  and  substantive  advice  and  guidance  on  matters  of 
legal  procedure  to  military  tribunals;  however,  it  does  not 
participate  in  arriving  at  judgments.   Military  tribunals  have 
jurisdiction  only  over  military  cases. 

A  judicial  inquest  may  be  initiated  by  the  Attorney  General  on 
the  authority  of  the  Judicial  Inquest  Proclamation  Number  32  of 
1954.   In  November  1989,  he  initiated  such  an  inquiry  into  the 
1986  slayings  of  two  former  cabinet  ministers  and  their  wives. 
In  March  1991,  the  High  Court  ruled  on  murder  charges  against 
two  senior  soldiers  accused  of  these  killings,  finding  one 
guilty  of  murder  and  the  other  guilty  as  an  accessory  after  the 



fact.   The  case  was  heard  in  open  court  by  the  Chief  Justice 
(who  ruled  on  matters  of  law),  accompanied  by  two  civilian 
assessors  (who  ruled  with  him  on  matters  of  fact).   Public 
attendance  was  high  throughout  the  trial,  which  was  conducted 
fairly  and  in  accordance  with  Roman-Dutch  judicial  procedures. 
Appeal  is  automatic  in  the  event  of  a  death  sentence,  and 
Colonel  Letsie  also  gave  notice  of  appeal.   In  light  of  the 
sheer  volume  of  testimony  resulting  from  this  6-month  case,  it 
was  anticipated  that  the  appeal  would  not  be  heard  before  the 
middle  of  1992  at  the  earliest. 

There  were  no  known  political  prisoners  in  Lesotho  at  the  end 
of  1991. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

In  1991  there  were  fewer  reports  of  violations  of  individual 
privacy  by  state  authorities.   Although  search  warrants  are 
usually  required  under  normal  circiomstances,  the  ISA  provides 
police  with  wide  powers  to  stop  and  search  persons  and  vehicles 
and  to  enter  homes  and  other  places  for  similar  purposes 
without  a  warrant.   Police  conducted  extensive  searches  of 
private  homes  in  residential  areas,  especially  around  Maseru, 
in  the  wake  of  the  riots  in  late  May,  looking  for  stolen 
property.   Several  hundred  persons  were  arrested  and  charged 
with  possession  of  stolen  goods.   Correspondence  appears  to  be 
monitored  occasionally  by  government  officials. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Human  Rights  Act  of  1983  provides  for  freedom  of  expression 
but  subordinates  this  freedom  to  the  needs  of  national 
security.   The  proposed  revised  constitution  includes  a  lengthy 
section  on  protection  of  fundamental  hioman  rights  and  freedoms, 
based  primarily  on  the  1966  Constitution;   all  parties  agree 
with  the  Government  on  the  need  for  some  such  bill  of  rights. 

Following  the  1986  coup,  a  formal  ban  on  politics  was  announced 
with  stringent  restrictions  on  freedom  of  speech  and  political 
assembly.   In  particular.  Government  Order  No.  4  of  1986 
prohibited  persons  and  groups  from  making  political  speeches 
and  from  publishing  or  distributing  political  party  materials. 
This  order  was  lifted  on  May  13,  1991,  and  political  parties 
became  active  in  the  weeks  thereafter.   Even  before  the  ban  on 
organized  political  party  activity  was  lifted,  members  of  seven 
of  Lesotho's  registered  political  parties  participated  actively 
in  debates  on  a  wide  range  of  political  issues  in  the 
Constituent  Assembly.   Debate  in  the  Constituent  Assembly  was 
frequently  lively  and  was  often  critical  of  the  Government; 
daily  reports  were  broadcast  on  the  radio,  and  most  weekly 
papers  carried  some  report  of  the  discussions. 

The  Government  controls  the  official  media  (one  radio  station, 
a  half-hour  daily  newscast  on  a  local  television  channel,  and 
two  weekly  newspapers)  and  ensures  that  they  faithfully  reflect 
official  views.   The  Government  rarely  uses  them  to  attack  its 
partisan  critics.   Opposition  viewpoints  were  routinely 
expressed  in  1991  in  two  Sesotho-language  weekly  newspapers 
published  by  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  and  the  Lesotho 
Evangelical  Church  and  in  one  independent  English-language 
weekly.   (Another  independent  weekly  and  a  bimonthly  magazine 
ceased  publication  in  1991  for  financial  reasons.)        • 



Academic  freedom  is  generally  respected,  although  some 
professors  and  students  complain  about  restrictions  on  their 
ability  to  discuss  academic  and  political  issues.   Beginning  in 
July,  the  National  University  banned  partisan  political 
activity  on  campus — in  part  because  several  faculty  members  had 
joined  a  new  party,  and  there  were  fears  the  university  would 
suffer  reprisals  from  other  party  followers.   Student 
representatives  openly  criticized  the  Government  and  called  for 
greater  academic  and  political  freedoms  during  public 
ceremonies;  no  reprisals  were  known  to  have  taken  place. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  military  Government's  ban  on  "politics"  was  not  interpreted 
to  require  the  dissolution  of  existing  political  parties,  but 
the  ban  did  preclude  political  gatherings  and  rallies  until  it 
was  lifted  in  May.   Following  its  lifting,  party  meetings  and 
rallies  took  place  throughout  the  country,  limited  only  by  the 
requirement  for  prior  police  notification.   All  meetings  of  the 
appointed  Constituent  Assembly  in  1991  were  open  to  the 
public.   Nonpolitical  organizations  and  professional  groups  are 
freely  formed,  even  encouraged,  and  are  allowed  to  hold  public 
and  regular  meetings. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

There  is  no  state  religion  in  Lesotho.   Free  and  open  religious 
practice  is  permitted  and  encouraged.   Christianity  is  the 
dominant  faith  of  the  majority  of  Basotho,  and  Roman 
Catholicism  has  the  most  adherents,  although  less  than  half  of 
the  population.   There  is  a  significant  Protestant  minority 
composed  of  the  Lesotho  Evangelical  Church,  the  T^glican 
Church,  and  a  number  of  other  smaller  denominations. 
Conversion  is  permitted,  and  there  is  no  apparent  social  or 
political  benefit  or  stigma  attached  to  belonging  to  any 
particular  church.   There  are  no  barriers  to  missionary 
activity  or  work  by  foreign  clergy. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Citizens  generally  are  allowed  to  move  freely  within  the 
country  and  across  national  boundaries.   In  July,  however,  the 
Minister  of  Interior  ordered  a  prominent  attorney  to  surrender 
his  international  passport  just  before  he  was  due  to  emplane 
for  London  to  attend  a  human  rights  conference  sponsored  by  the 
former  King.   Asserting  that  passports  remain  government 
property,  officials  claimed  there  had  been  complaints  from 
other  African  governments  over  the  subversive  nature  of  the 
conference  and  that  travel  for  such  purposes  was  in  violation 
of  the  laws  governing  passport  eligibility.   By  late  September, 
the  passport  had  been  returned  to  the  attorney.   The  Government 
places  no  obstacles  in  the  way  of  its  own  citizens  who  wish  to 

There  are  currently  about  220  refugees  registered  with  the 
United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR)  who  have 
been  granted  asylum  in  Lesotho,  the  majority  unaffiliated  South 
Africans.   The  local  office  of  the  UNHCR  also  reports  over 
4,000  South  Africans  in  "refugee-like  status,"  most  of  whom 
have  lived  in  Lesotho  for  many  years.   There  is  no  forced 
resettlement  of  refugees. 



Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  of  Lesotho  currently  do  not  have  the  freedom  to  change 
their  government.   However,  in  1990  the  military  Government 
announced  its  intention  to  hand  over  power  to  a  democratically 
elected  government  by  the  middle  of  1992.   In  June  1990,  it 
convened  a  National  Constituent  Assembly  which  in  July  1991 
completed  revisions  to  the  independence  Constitution  of  1966. 
A  constitutional  commission,  drawn  primarily  from  members  of 
the  Assembly,  held  a  series  of  47  public  meetings  in  late  1991 
to  discern  public  opinion  before  the  final  text  is  approved. 
Voter  registration  for  the  1992  elections  began  December  18. 
At  the  end  of  the  year,  plans  call  for  Lesotho  to  remain  a 
kingdom,  under  a  constitutional  monarch,  with  multiple  parties 
vying  for  leadership  of  a  democratically  elected  Parliament, 
and  an  independent  judiciary.   All  Basotho  citizens  over  the 
age  of  21  will  have  the  right  to  vote.   There  are  15  registered 
political  parties,  including  one  formed  by,  but  not  limited  to, 
women . 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government  in  general  has  not  been  responsive  on  human 
rights  issues,  particularly  when  the  call  for  outside 
investigation  emanated  from  the  domestic  political  opposition. 
There  are  no  internal  organizations  which  concentrate  on  human 
rights,  either  official  or  nongovernmental,  although  church  and 
other  groups  occasionally  address  human  rights  issues.   There 
are  no  overt  restrictions  on  the  establishment  of  such 
organizations.   Reports  of  alleged  human  rights  abuses  are 
sometimes  carried  in  the  local  press,  particularly  the  church 
newspapers  and  Lesotho's  major  independent  weekly.   There  have 
been  no  reports  of  reprisals  against  human  rights  activists 
(primarily  lawyers  and  clergy). 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Most  citizens  of  Lesotho  speak  a  common  language  and  share 
common  historical  and  cultural  traditions.   Asians  (primarily 
ethnic  Chinese  and  Indians)  and  South  African  whites  are  active 
in  the  country's  commercial  life.   In  1987  the  Government 
formulated  a  policy  aimed  at  "localization"  of  Lesotho's 
commercial  retail  trade  and,  under  the  Trading  Enterprise 
Order,  called  on  foreign  owners  to  enter  into  joint  ventures 
with  Basotho  nationals.   Equity  transfers  would  entail 
compensation.   To  date,  the  localization  order  has  not  been 
strictly  enforced  because  of  difficulties  in  identifying  local 
entrepreneurs  to  take  over  foreign-owned  businesses,  problems 
in  financing  such  takeovers,  and  concern  over  foreign  reaction. 

In  late  May,  violence  based  on  economic  frustrations  broke  out 
against  small-scale  merchants  of  Asian  origin.   Numerous 
Chinese  and  Indian  stores  were  burned  or  looted,  police  and 
army  troops  were  called  in  to  quell  the  rioting,  and  over  35 
people  were  killed  (see  Sections  I.e.  and  l.f.).   Government 
officials  were  quick  to  reassure  foreign  investors  that  the 
anti-Asian  violence  did  not  reflect  government  policy,  and  the 
incidents  were  not  repeated. 

Although  the  question  was  briefly  debated  in  the  Constituent 
Assembly  in  1990,  the  Government  has  still  not  seriously 



addressed  the  issue  of  women's  rights.   In  Lesotho  these  rights 
are  severely  limited  by  both  law  and  custom,  including  in  the 
area  of  property,  inheritance,  and  contracts,  but  women  do  have 
the  legal  and  customary  right  to  make  a  will  and  sue  for 
divorce.   Under  Lesotho's  customary  law,  a  married  woman  is 
considered  a  minor  during  the  lifetime  of  her  husband,  with  all 
of  the  legal  limitations  that  this  status  implies.   She  cannot 
enter  into  any  legally  binding  contract,  whether  for 
employment,  commerce,  or  education,  without  her  husband's 
consent.   A  woman  married  under  customary  law  has  no  standing 
in  court  and  may  not  sue  or  be  sued  without  her  husband's 
permission.   Despite  their  second-class  status,  women  in 
Lesotho  traditionally  have  been  the  stabilizing  force  in  the 
home  and  in  the  agricultural  sector,  given  the  absence  of  over 
100,000  Basotho  men  who  work  in  South  Africa.   More  female  than 
male  children  complete  primary  and  secondary  schools. 

Domestic  violence,  including  wife  beating,  occurs,  but,  as 
statistics  are  not  available,  the  extent  of  the  problem  is  not 
known.   In  Basotho  tradition  a  wife  may  return  to  her  "maiden 
home"  if  physically  abused  by  her  husband;  in  the  common  law, 
wife  beating  is  a  criminal  offense  and  defined  as  assault.   A 
1976  High  Court  case  successfully  reversed  a  Roman-Dutch  legal 
tradition  which  recognized  a  husband's  right  to  chastise  his 
wife  at  will.   While  the  Government  has  made  some  attempts  in 
the  past  to  improve  the  economic  prospects  of  women,  no  direct 
action  was  taken  in  1991  to  improve  their  subordinate  status  in 
society.   Women's  rights  organizations  are  forming,  including  a 
partnership  of  women  lawyers  which  has  expressed  interest  in 
handling  such  cases.   The  local  chapter  of  the  International 
Federation  of  Woman  Lawyers  has  taken  a  lead  role  in  educating 
Basotho  women  as  to  their  rights  under  customary  and  common  law. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  have  the  legal  right  to  join  or  form  unions  without 
prior  government  authorization.   Roughly  60  percent  of 
Lesotho's  active  male  labor  force  between  the  ages  of  20  and  44 
seeks  work  in  the  Republic  of  South  Africa,  mainly  in  gold  and 
coal  mines.   At  least  70  percent  of  the  remainder  is  engaged  in 
traditional  agriculture.   The  rest  are  employed  mainly  by  the 
Government  and  in  small  industries  and  enterprises  in  Lesotho. 
A  majority  of  Basotho  mineworkers  are  members  of  the  South 
African  National  Union  of  Mineworkers  (MUM) .   Because  the  NUM 
is  a  foreign  organization,  it  is  not  permitted  to  engage  in 
union  activities  in  Lesotho. 

Like  its  predecessor,  which  since  1988  had  been  trying  to 
arrange  a  merger  between  Lesotho's  two  competing  federations, 
the  current  Government  supported  the  formation  of  a  single, 
umbrella  trade  union  center.   Deep  philosophical,  political, 
and  ideological  differences  between  the  two  federations  impeded 
efforts  to  consolidate.   In  1991,  however,  the  Lesotho  Congress 
of  Free  Trade  Unions,  which  encompassed  24  affiliated 
independent  trade  unions,  and  the  Lesotho  Federation  of  Trade 
Unions  which  had  4,  merged  into  one  federation,  the  Lesotho 
Labor  Congress  (LLC),  representing  the  majority  of  unionized 
workers.   It  remained  to  be  seen  at  year's  end  to  what  extent 
the  new  federation  will  be  free  of  governmental  or  partisan 
control . 

Unionized  workers  represent  only  10  percent  of  the  total  work 
force,  and  the  LLC  accounts  for  three-guarters  of  those  union 



members.   Four  of  the  newer,  more  politicized  unions  did  not 
join  the  LLC  but  have  instead  formed  the  Congress  of  Democratic 
Unions.   Because  the  Government  wants  only  one  labor  central, 
it  has  not  granted  recognition  to  this  umbrella  organization, 
even  though  all  four  of  its  member  unions  are  legally 

While  a  legal  right  to  strike  exists  for  workers  in 
nonessential  services,  in  practice  the  procedure  for  calling  a 
strike  is  so  lengthy  and  cumbersome  that  it  discourages  legal 
strike  actions  and  accounts  for  the  prevalence  of  wildcat 
strikes.   The  1964  Trade  Union  and  Trade  Disputes  Act 
enumerates  lengthy  procedures  which  must  be  followed  before  a 
strike  is  called.   There  were  several,  usually  short,  wildcat 
strikes  in  1991  against  both  foreign  and  domestic  companies, 
mostly  over  wages  and  conditions  of  work.   Most  were  resolved 
through  compulsory  government  arbitration.   A  particularly 
bitter  strike  broke  out  in  July,  with  members  of  the  Lesotho 
Union  of  Bank  Employees  walking  out  when  the  management  of  two 
foreign-owned  international  banks  refused  their  demand  for  a 
40-percent  wage  increase.   Noting  that  the  banking  sector  had 
been  ruled  an  "essential"  service,  the  banks  fired  the  striking 
employees  and  reopened  using  managerial  staff  and  newly  hired 
trainees;  later,  the  management  offered  to  rehire  the  dismissed 
employees  subject  to  a  probationary  period.   Efforts  by  church 
leaders  and  government  officials  to  mediate  bore  little  fruit. 
The  strike  was  broken,  and  only  about  two-thirds  of  the 
strikers  were  rehired. 

The  new,  combined  Lesotho  Labor  Congress  has  maintained  the 
wide'st  possible  spread  of  international  trade  union  links.   The 
Government  imposes  no  obstacles  to  international  affiliations 
or  foreign  travel  for  labor  union-related  purposes. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

All  trade  unions  in  Lesotho  enjoy  the  right  in  law  to  organize 
and  bargain  collectively,  but  this  right  is  only  recently 
coming  into  practice.   Two  sectoral  agreements  exist,  and  four 
others  are  under  active  negotiation.   An  Unfair  Labor  Practices 
Tribunal  investigates  unfair  labor  practices  and  charges  of 
antiunion  discrimination  and  generally  attempts  to  safeguard 
worker  rights.   A  government-appointed  Labor  Commission  is 
charged  with,  inter  alia,  monitoring  wage  and  working 
conditions  and  accepting,  reviewing,  and  investigating  worker 
complaints . 

Lesotho  has  several  industrial  estates  grouping  together 
companies,  mostly  textile  and  apparel  firms,  engaged  in 
manufacturing  for  export.   There  are  no  prohibitions  against 
organized  labor  in  these  industrial  zones,  and  in  fact  the 
Government  helped  resolve  some  worker  complaints  in  1991 
concerning  unfair  treatment.   On  the  other  hand,  the  new  union, 
formed  by  the  merger  of  two  rival  organizations  representing 
clothing  and  garment  workers,  has  met  with  apparent  harassment 
and  intimidation.   Several  of  its  officers  were  arrested  or 
detained  by  the  police  in  July,  in  apparent  retribution  for 
holding  meetings  with  union  members  to  the  displeasure  of 
expatriate  factory  management.   The  officers  were  quickly 
released  without  being  charged. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  prohibited  by  the  1987  Employment 
Act  and  not  practiced. 



d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  legal  minimum  age  for  employment  in  commercial  or 
industrial  enterprises  is  14.   In  practice,  however,  children 
under  14  are  employed  in  family-owned  businesses.   There  are 
prohibitions  against  the  employment  of  minors  in  commercial, 
industrial,  or  nonfamily  enterprises  involving  hazardous  or 
dangerous  working  conditions.   Basotho  minors  under  18  years 
may  not  be  recruited  for  employment  outside  of  Lesotho. 

Enforcement  of  these  laws  by  inspectors  of  the  Ministry  of 
Employment,  Social  Welfare  and  Pensions  is  lax.   In  Lesotho's 
traditional  society,  life  and  working  conditions  for  the 
country's  young  "herdboys"  tend  to  be  much  more  rigorous  and 
demanding  than  conditions  in  the  modern  sector.   Their 
quasi-pastoral  life,  however,  is  considered  a  prerequisite  to 
manhood  and  is  a  fundamental  feature  of  Basotho  life, 
tradition,  and  culture,  beyond  the  reach  of  labor  laws. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Wages  in  Lesotho  are  extremely  low.   The  Government,  upon  the 
recommendation  of  a  tripartite  wages  advisory  board,  again 
raised  the  statutory  minimum  wage  rates  in  1990  for  various 
types  of  work.   These  amounts  are  barely  sufficient  for  a 
minimum  decent  standard  of  living.   Most  wage  earners 
supplement  their  monthly  income  through  subsistence  agriculture 
or  remittances  from  relatives  employed  in  South  Africa.   Many 
employers  in  Lesotho  now  pay  more  than  minimum  wages  in  an 
effort  to  attract  and  retain  motivated  employees. 

Lesotho's  1967  Employment  Act  spells  out  basic  worker  rights, 
including  a  45-hour  workweek,  a  weekly  rest  period  of  at  least 
24  hours,  11  to  12  days'  paid  leave  per  year,  and  pay  for 
public  holidays.   Employers  are  required  to  provide  adequate 
light,  ventilation,  and  sanitary  facilities  for  employees,  and 
to  install  and  maintain  machinery  to  minimize  the  risk  of 
injury.   In  practice,  these  regulations  are  generally  followed 
only  within  the  wage  economy  and  are  enforced  by  inspectors 
from  the  Department  of  Labor  of  the  Ministry  of  Employment, 
Social  Welfare  and  Pensions.   Staff  shortages  in  the  Ministry 
of  Employment  limit  effective  enforcement  to  the  major  urban 



Throughout  1991  Liberia  remained  a  nation  divided  into  two 
parts  and  three  armed  camps  as  a  result  of  the  war .   The 
Interim  Government  of  National  Unity  (IGNU),  headed  by 
President  Amos  Sawyer,  represented  a  broad  range  of  political 
views,  but  it  exercised  administration  over  only  Monrovia  and 
its  immediate  environs.   About  50  percent  of  the  total 
population  in  Liberia  resided  in  this  area  which  is  totally 
within  the  defensive  perimeter  of  the  Economic  Community  of 
West  African  States'  (ECOWAS)  Cease-fire  Monitoring  Group 
(ECOMOG) .   The  National  Patriotic  Reconstruction  Assembly 
Government  (NPRAG) ,  based  on  and  supported  by  the  National 
Patriotic  Forces  of  Liberia  (NPFL),  led  by  Charles  Taylor, 
exercised  political  sway  throughout  the  remaining  90  percent  of 
the  country.   The  two  other  former  warring  parties,  the 
Independent  National  Patriotic  Front  of  Liberia  (INPFL),  led  by 
Prince  Johnson,  and  the  Armed  Forces  of  Liberia  (AFL)  were 
encamped  in  Monrovia.   Both  INPFL  and  AFL  factions,  while 
monitored  by  ECOMOG,  retained  arms  within  their  respective 
camps,  and  the  INPFL  sometimes  acted  independently.   Johnson  on 
several  occasions  killed  a  number  of  people,  most  of  them 
members  of  his  force. 

The  economy,  based  primarily  on  iron  ore,  rubber,  and  timber, 
was  ravaged  by  the  civil  war.   Gross  domestic  product  for  1991 
was  no  more  than  25  percent  of  prewar  levels.   U.S.  and  other 
Western  relief  agencies  and  nongovernmental  organizations 
initiated  massive  emergency  operations  in  late  1990  to  prevent 
widespread  starvation  in  both  parts  of  the  country.   Those 
operations  continued  through  1991. 

When  compared  to  the  appalling  civil  war  conditions  of  1990, 
there  was  some  improvement  in  the  human  rights  situation  in 
1991,  especially  in  the  Monrovia  area  controlled  by  ECOMOG 
forces.   However,  the  Interim  Government's  authority  was 
limited,  and  all  Liberian  military  forces  committed  serious 
human  rights  violations  in  1991,  including  summary  executions. 
The  NPFL  in  particular  detained  several  thousand  West  Africans 
throughout  much  of  1991,  and  NPFL  soldiers  reportedly  killed 
many  Krahn  residents  of  Grand  Gedeh  in  midyear. 

As  a  police  force  had  only  begun  to  be  reconstituted  in  1991, 
and  only  in  Monrovia,  and  most  of  them  remained  unarmed,  ECOMOG 
assumed  this  function  to  a  large  extent  in  Monrovia.   The  NPFL 
policed  the  territory  vinder  its  control,  and,  to  a  large 
extent,  both  the  INPFL  and  AFL  carried  out  this  function  within 
their  camps.   Soldiers  from  the  warring  factions  regularly 
abused  their  position  by  m.istreating  civilians,  usually  in 
attempts  to  extort  money  and  goods.   Despite  the  continuing 
unstable  security  situation,  there  was  some  hope  at  year's  end 
for  a  political  solution  following  peace  initiatives  conducted 
by  West  African  nations  which  led  to  general  agreement  on  the 
need  for  free,  internationally  supervised  elections  in  1992. 
Implementation  of  the  agreements  is  not  assured.   At  the  end  of 
1991,  it  was  estimated  that  as  many  as  20,000  to  30,000 
Liberians  may  have  died  in  the  conflict  and  approximately 
600,000  more  were  refugees  in  neighboring  countries. 




Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

Indiscriminate  killings  declined  sharply  from  the  previous 
year,  although  many  incidents  continued  to  be  reported  (see 
Section  l.g.).   Prince  Johnson,  the  leader  of  the  INPFL,  was 
believed  responsible  for  the  killing  in  July  of  several 
soldiers  of  his  own  movement,  including  senior  Commando  Moses 
Varney.   The  INPFL  Leader  maintained  that  the  soldiers  had  been 
tried  under  internal  procedures  and  executed  when  found 
guilty.   No  details  of  the  trials  were  made  public.   The  IGNU 
condemned  the  killings.   Johnson  was  also  reportedly 
responsible  for  killing  some  civilians  in  September,  but  no 
action  was  taken  against  him  as  a  consequence. 

According  to  two  Liber ian  religious  leaders,  NPFL  soldiers 
killed  20  Ghanaians  in  Since  county  in  mid-February,  and  in 
July  several  Ghanaian  women  from  Fanti  fishing  communities 
informed  an  international  organization's  representative  in  Cote 
d'lvoire  that  the  NPFL  had  killed  their  husbands.   These 
reported  killings  continued  a  pattern  from  the  previous  year 
when  NPFL  followers  allegedly  killed  Ghanaians  and  other  West 
Africans  in  retribution  for  their  respective  nations'  role  in 
the  conflict  (see  Section  l.b.  and  l.d.). 

NPFL  Leader  Charles  Taylor  reportedly  ordered  several  NPFL 
members  executed  following  an  aborted  coup  attempt  in  late 
August.   While  Taylor  publicly  denied  there  had  been  a  coup 
attempt,  he  acknowledged  that  an  NPFL  officer  had  been 
executed,  ostensibly  for  killing  five  NPFL  soldiers.   According 
to  Monrovia's  media,  which  claimed  to  have  interviewed  ex-NPFL 
soldiers  following  the  failed  coup,  up  to  75  NPFL  members  were 
executed  (see  also  Section  l.g.). 

b.  Disappearance 

Disappearances  were  much  less  common  in  1991  than  in  1990,  but 
little  new  information  surfaced  about  persons  missing  as  a 
result  of  the  war.   Many  families  remained  divided  among  those 
living  in  Monrovia,  those  in  NPFL  areas,  and  those  who  fled 
Liberia  and  have  not  returned.   Although  there  were  many 
returnees  during  the  year,  movement  between  Monrovia  and  the 
NPFL  areas  was  very  difficult  for  most  people.   The 
International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross  (ICRC)  began  a  family 
tracer  program  but  located  only  about  30  percent  of  the  missing 
persons  brought  to  its  attention. 

According  to  a  Liberian  religious  leader,  several  Ghanaian 
children  disappeared  in  March  in  Buchanan  following  a  visit  by 
ECOMOG  intended  to  build  confidence  between  it  and  the  NPFL. 
The  Ghanaian  children  warmly  welcomed  ECOMOG  vehicles,  some 
manned  by  Ghanaian  soldiers.   This  affectionate  display  was 
said  to  have  enraged  some  NPFL  soldiers  who  were  believed 
responsible  for  the  children's  disappearance  shortly 
thereafter . 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

During  the  height  of  the  civil  war,  many  members  of  the  three 
warring  factions  rampantly  indulged  in  acts  of  inhumanity. 




Abuses  in  1991  declined  sharply  but  cases  of  inhuman  treatment 
continued.   The  most  widely  pub  cized  incident  occurred  in 
February  when  INPFL  forces  infl  Jted  inhuman  treatment  on  nine 
members  of  the  IGNU,  including  a  cabinet  minister-designate  and 
several  members  of  the  Interim  Legislative  Assembly.  They  were 
stripped  and  flogged,  and  one  was  forced  to  sit  in  a  mound  of 
driver  ants  while  einother  was  made  to.  lick  feces.  Under 
pressure  from  ECOMOG,  the  ICRC,  and  the  Interim  Government, 
INPFL  Leader  Johnson  released  the  detainees,  excusing  his 
actions  as  necessary  to  call  attention  to  alleged  ECOMOG  abuse 
of  INPFL  soldiers. 

Prior  to  the  1989  civil  war,  conditions  in  the  nation's  jails 
were  inhuman  and  hazardous  to  life  and  health.   Prisoners  were 
often  denied  access  to  family  and  medical  care;  cells  were 
small,  crowded,  and  filthy.   Conditions  at  the  notorious 
maximum  security  facility  at  Belle  Yella  had  long  been  of 
concern . 

During  1991  none  of  Liberia's  prewar  prisons  were  believed  to 
be  still  functioning,  although  the  IGNU  was  reported  to  be 
refurbishing  one  in  Monrovia.   NPFL  Leader  Charles  Taylor 
announced  in  March  that  the  Belle  Yella  Prison  would  be 
closed.   He  directed  that  its  remaining  prisoners  be 
transferred  to  their  respective  counties  for  retrial.   There 
was  no  information  about  the  results  of  the  transfer  order. 

d.   Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

There  were  few  juridical  protections  to  prevent  arbitrary 
arrest,  even  in  the  ECOMOG-controlled  areas,  as  the  INPFL 
detention  and  abuse  of  nine  Interim  Government  members  for  3 
days  in  February  demonstrated  (Section  I.e.).   In  theory  the 
1985  Constitution  provides  specific  legal  safeguards  for  the 
rights  of  the  accused,  including  warrants  for  arrests  and  the 
right  of  detainees  to  be  charged  or  released  within  48  hours. 
Even  before  the  civil  war,  these  rights  were  freqpjently 
violated,  particularly  in  cases  allegedly  involving  national 
security.   The  Interim  President  repeatedly  affirmed  that  his 
Government  would  respect  the  1985  Constitution  and  its 
procedural  safeguards,  and  in  practice  attempted  to  do  so.   In 
late  1990,  the  IGNU  outlawed  the  use  of  military  stockades  for 
detaining  civilians,  a  practice  common  under  the  previous 

Early  in  1991,  undisciplined  elements  of  the  AFL  on  occasion 
detained  and  threatened  civilians  deemed  to  be  "rebel 
sympathizers."  After  AFL  commanders  called  for  greater 
discipline  and  in  July  formed  a  Ij.oard  of  inquiry  to  investigate 
citizens'  complaints  of  abuse,  tnere  appeared  to  have  been  some 
lessening  of  AFL  abuses . 

NPFL  forces  detained  up  to  4,000  West  African  nationals, 
primarily  Nigerians  and  Ghanaians,  behind  NPFL  lines  during 
much  of  1991.   The  NPFL  forces  viewed  the  West  Africans  as 
enemies  and  reportedly  executed  many  in  reprisal  against 
ECOMOG,  which  fought  the  NPFL  in  October-November  1990.   In 
March  NPFL  Leader  Charles  Taylor  "released"  the  West  Africans 
from  the  detention  camps  but  prohibited  them  from  traveling  to 
Monrovia  or  crossing  into  neighboring  countries.   Approximately 
300  to  500  Nigerians  as  well  as  a  number  of  Ghanaians 
eventually  managed  to  make  their  way  in  small  groups  to 
Monrovia.   In  late  August,  the  NPFL  announced  "the  first  phase 
of  the  repatriation  process"  for  West  Africans  and  allowed  over 
100  Nigerians  to  cross  safely  into  Cote  d'lvoire.   The  ICRC 



assisted  in  the  repatriation,  and  the  Nigerians  were  followed 
by  several  other  groups,  including  Ghanaians  and  other  West 
Africans . 

Following  the  September  incursion  by  anti-NPFL  Liberians  into 
western  Liberia  from  Sierra  Leone  after  an  earlier  NPFL 
invasion  into  Sierra  Leone,  the  NPFL  forcibly  detained  4 
Western  and  35  Liberian  relief  personnel  working  in  the  area, 
accusing  them  of  being  "spies."   In  response  the  U.N.  and 
nongovernmental  relief  agencies  suspended  all  relief  operations 
in  NPFL  areas  until  the  detainees  were  freed.   While  the  4 
Western  nationals  were  released  2  days  later,  the  35  Liberians 
were  held  for  another  8  days . 

A  number  of  other  foreigners  were  detained  by  the  NPFL  for 
varying  periods;  all  were  eventually  released. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  structure  of  Liberia's  legal  system  is  closely  modeled  on 
that  of  the  United  States,  with  the  Supreme  Court  at  its  apex. 
In  practice  before  the  civil  war,  the  system  afforded  little 
protection  for  defendants  due  to  corruption  among  court 
officials,  lack  of  training,  and  inordinate  executive 
interference.   By  mid-1990,  the  system  had  completely  collapsed 
along  with  the  rest  of  civil  authority,  with  justice  in  the 
hands  of  military  commanders  of  the  warring  factions.   Many 
public  records  in  Monrovia,  including  those  of  the  courts, 
churches,  and  schools  were  looted  and  badly  damaged  during  the 
civil  war.   The  registrar  of  public  records  estimated  that  over 
80  percent  of  national  record  holdings  were  damaged,  and  30  to 
40  percent  destroyed. 

The  IGNU  began  in  1991  slowly  to  reconstitute  the  court 
system.   Early  in  the  year,  it  reestablished  several 
magistrate's  courts  in  Monrovia,  and  in  September  swore  new 
circuit  court  judges  into  office.   The  IGNU,  in  an 
unprecedented  move,  asked  the  Bar  Association  to  recommend 
candidates  for  judgeships.   At  the  end  of  September,  following 
new  West  African  peace  initiatives,  the  IGNU  and  NPFL  agreed 
upon  the  composition  of  a  five-member  ad  hoc  Supreme  Court. 
The  Court's  stated  purpose  is  to  adjudicate  electoral  disputes, 
but  the  full  scope  of  its  jurisdiction  is  still  undecided.   At 
the  end  of  the  year,  the  Court  had  not  yet  been  inaugurated. 

In  the  areas  under  NPFL  control,  legal  and  judicial  protections 
were  almost  totally  lacking.   There  were  reports  that  the 
authorities  imposed  capital  punishment  for  armed  thefts. 
Another  report  said  the  NPFL  executed  suspected  murderers  after 
"tribunal  trials  in  life-for-life  retributive  justice." 
Another  source  reported  that  armed  robbery  was  discouraged  in 
NPFL  areas  because  "the  death  penalty  is  automatic." 

f.  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

Serious  abuses  of  privacy  by  soldiers  of  all  three  forces 
continued  in  1991  although  not  on  the  scale  of  1990.   AFL 
soldiers  committed  many  armed  robberies  in  the  downtown 
Monrovia  area,  including  seizure  of  several  vehicles  assigned 
to  Interim  Legislative  Assembly  members.   They  also  illegally 
occupied  some  private  homes.   The  AFL  brigade  commander 
publicly  requested  citizens  to  report  abuses  by  AFL  soldiers  to 
the  proper  authorities  and  ordered  soldiers  to  respect  the 
rights  of  civilians  but  with  only  marginal  effect.   Only  when 



ECOMOG  increased  its  patrols  in  downtown  areas  at  midyear  did 
the  situation  improve  somewhat,  but  abuses  continued  throughout 
the  year . 

The  situation  was  worse  in  NPFL-held  areas.   According  to 
Liberians  who  returned  to  Monrovia  from  Lofa  County,  NPFL 
soldiers  regularly  demanded  food  and  personal  possessions  from 
village  residents  and  often  robbed  and  abused  citizens.   To 
escape  the  harassment,  many  Liberians  moved  their  families  to 
remote  areas.   Soldiers  assigned  to  checkpoints  demanded  money 
and  goods  for  passage,  from  both  Liberians  and  expatriate 
relief  workers. 

g.   Use  of  Excessive  Force  and  Violations  of  Humanitarian 
Law  in  Internal  Conflicts 

Following  the  November  1990  cease-fire,  fighting  between  the 
three  warring  factions  and  the  use  of  excessive  force  against 
civilians  sharply  declined  but  did  not  end. 

Perhaps  the  largest  number  of  deaths  occurred  between  July  and 
August  when  the  NPFL  moved  through  Grand  Gedeh  County. 
According  to  survivors  interviewed  by  the  Western  media  and 
human  rights  groups  in  Cote  d'lvoire,  as  many  as  1,500  people, 
mostly  of  the  Krahn  ethnic  group  of  former  president  Samuel 
Doe,  may  have  died.   Others  interviewed  stated  that  the  NPFL 
entered  their  villages  shooting  indiscriminately.   Independent 
observers  who  visited  the  area  confirmed  that  entire  villages 
were  destroyed  and  that  many  inhabitants  had  fled  into  the  bush. 

There  were  many  other  instances  of  the  use  of  excessive  force 
and  violations  of  humanitarian  law  during  the  year.   In  January 
over  1,000  new  refugees,  mostly  Krahn,  fled  to  refugee  camps  in 
Tai,  Cote  d'lvoire.   They  reported  that  the  NPFL  was  conducting 
secret  killings,  raping  women,  looting  homes,  and  stealing 
cattle.   In  July-August,  approximately  10,000  people,  mostly 
Krahns,  fled  across  the  border  to  Cote  d'lvoire  reporting  that 
the  NPFL  had  attacked  their  villages,  indiscriminately  killing 
men,  women,  and  children.   Independent  observers  reported 
seeing  jailed  Krahns  in  chains. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

There  was  increased  freedom  of  speech  and  press  in  1991, 
especially  in  Monrovia.   However,  people  still  had  to  be 
careful  in  criticizing  the  various  factions.   Although  NPFL 
leader  Charles  Taylor  affirmed  publicly  on  several  occasions 
that  his  government  supported  free  speech  and  criticism,  both 
Liberians  and  expatriates  have  been  detained  by  his  supporters 
for  comments  made  about  the  NPFL. 

There  was  no  press  censorship  in  Monrovia,  and  the  number  of 
newspapers  in  Monrovia  grew  rapidly,  with  as  many  as  13 
separate  newspapers  reflecting  a  variety  of  opinion  being 
published  at  different  times  in  1991.   A  shortage  of  newsprint, 
however,  reduced  this  number  by  the  end  of  the  year.   Unlike 
the  previous  Doe  regime,  the  Interim  Government  did  not  publish 
its  own  newspaper.   The  INPFL  sponsored  a  newspaper.  The 
Scorpion,  with  articles  highly  favorable  to  Prince  Johnson  and 
the  INPFL.   The  NPFL  printed  a  monthly  newspaper.  The  Patriot, 
which  was  also  sold  in  Monrovia  but  which  stopped  publication 
late  in  the  year.   In  December  two  newspapers  describing 



themselves  as  independent  appeared  in  Gbarnga,  capital  of 
NPFL-controlled  territory. 

Press  freedom  was  not  complete  even  in  Monrovia.   For  example, 
ECOMOG  reacted  negatively  to  an  article  published  in  May  by  The 
Inquirer  which  alleged  complicity  by  the  ECOMOG  field  commander 
with  a  reputed  arms  merchant.   The  editor  was  briefly  detained 
and  asked  to  reveal  the  source  of  his  information,  which  he 
refused  to  do.   As  a  result  of  this  incident,  the  Interim 
Government  publicly  called  upon  the  press  to  be  more 
responsible  in  its  reporting.   This,  in  turn,  was  publicly 
criticized  by  the  Press  Union  of  Liberia  which  claimed  it  had 
"an  intimidating"  effect  on  the  press. 

The  Interim  Government  supported  a  shortwave  radio  station 
(ELBC),  and  its  broadcasts  from  Monrovia  were  heard  across  most 
of  the  country.   ELBC  news  reports  were  generally  favorable  to 
the  IGNU.   The  Catholic  Church-operated  FM  radio  station, 
previously  shut  down  by  the  Doe  Government,  resumed  operations 
in  May.   The  NPFL  operated  three  radio  and  two  television 
stations  in  its  areas.   NPFL  news  programs  supported  Charles 
Taylor  and  the  NPFL,  while  discussing  economic  and  social 
problems  in  NPFL  territory.   The  NPFL's  FM  station,  part  of 
whose  appeal  is  the  current  American  music  it  broadcasts, 
acquired  increased  power  in  October  and  can  now  be  heard  by  the 
majority  of  Liber ians,  including  those  in  Monrovia. 

When  Monrovian  journalists  accompanied  ECOMOG  in  May  to  the 
opening  of  the  MPFL's  legislative  assembly  in  Gbarnga,  a  senior 
NPFL  military  leader,  who  later  was  appointed  its  chief  of 
staff,  attempted  to  detain  two  reporters  and  confiscate  their 
equipment  for  having  interviewed  local  residents.   He  also 
attempted  to  arrest  a  Monrovia  radio  reporter  for  "treason"  for 
having  broadcast  news  about  Interim  President  Sawyer.   ECOMOG 
press  officers  intervened  to  prevent  the  arrest. 

b.   Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

In  1991  political  parties  and  other  groups  in  Monrovia  were 
able  to  organize  and  to  hold  public  meetings.  New  political 
organizations  appeared,  including  the  True  Whig  Party  which 
Samuel  Doe  had  outlawed  shortly  after  seizing  power  in  1980. 
Under  IGNU  sponsorship,  a  coalition  of  organizations  held  a 
mass  rally  in  August  attended  by  up  to  5,000  people  to  show 
public  support  for  the  ECOMOG  peacekeeping  effort. 

Freedom  of  assembly  and  association  was  generally  more 
restrictive  in  NPFL  areas  than  in  Monrovia.   For  instance,  none 
of  the  prewar  political  parties  were  known  to  have  reorganized 
or  to  have  held  public  meetings  during  1991  in  NPFL  areas. 

According  to  Western  and  Monrovian  press  reporters  on  the 
scene,  some  Liberians  in  NPFL  areas  who  greeted  ECOMOG  soldiers 
during  the  initial  confidence-building  visits  in  March  with 
chants  of  "we  want  Taylor,"  later  spontaneously  broke  out  into 
chants  of  "we  want  peace"  and  "we  want  ECOMOG."   Some  reporters 
stated  that  the  people  had  been  forced  to  assemble  and  chant 
pro-NPFL  slogans  and  that  many  were  later  punished  for  their 
praise  of  ECOMOG.   One  Western  news  service  reported  five 
people  died  from  NPFL  beatings  following  ECOMOG  visits  to 
Kakata  and  Buchanan.   However,  NPFL  justice  minister  Laveli 
Supuwood  dismissed  the  reports  as  "malicious." 

/  205 


c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

The  1985  Constitution  states  that  freedom  of  religion  is  a 
fxindamental  right  of  all  Liberian  citizens,  and  in  practice 
there  are  no  restrictions  in  Monrovia  on  freedom  of  worship. 
There  is  no  established  state  religion.   Christianity  has  long 
been  the  religion  of  the  political  and  economic  elite,  while 
the  majority  of  the  rural  population  continues  to  follow 
traditional  religions.   Muslims  account  for  about  20  percent  of 
the  population.   Mandingos,  who  are  predominantly  Muslim,  were 
targeted  during  the  civil  war  by  the  NPFL  as  being  pro-Doe,  and 
most  mosques  were  closed  in  NPFL  territory  during  the  war. 
However,  other  Liberian  Muslims  did  not  receive  the  same 
treatment,  and  the  action  against  the  Mandingos  was  based 
primarily  on  ethnic/political  considerations  rather  than  an 
effort  to  repress  religious  freedom. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

While  the  Constitution  provides  every  person  the  right  to  move 
freely  throughout  Liberia  and  to  leave  or  enter  the  country  at 
will,  the  previous  Doe  regime  required  exit  visas  for  those 
wishing  to  leave  the  country,  and  it  maintained  a  "black  list" 
of  those  who  were  not  permitted  to  depart.   The  Interim 
Government  announced  in  March  that  it  was  abolishing  this 
"xinconstitutional"  policy. 

Throughout  the  year  reuniting  families  and  returning  displaced 
persons  were  hampered  by  NPFL  checkpoints,  which  made  travel 
very  difficult  on  roads  in  and  out  of  Monrovia.   The  NPFL 
required  employees  of  the  various  international  relief  agencies 
to  have  passes  approved  monthly.   In  spite  of  difficulties, 
many  Liber ians  transited  the  lines,  often  by  paying  bribes  or 
using  guile  to  reach  ECOMOG-  controlled  areas.   During  the 
period  April-September,  nearly  60,000  moved  to  Monrovia  through 
these  means . 

Because  of  civil  war  abuses,  approximately  600,000  Liber ians, 
about  20  percent  of  the  prewar  population,  remained  as  refugees 
in  nearby  countries,  mostly  in  Cote  D'lvoire  and  Guinea. 
Smaller  numbers  are  in  Sierra  Leone,  Ghana,  and  Nigeria. 

Following  the  NPFL  incursion  into  Sierra  Leone  in  March,  the 
125,000  Liberians  who  had  originally  sought  refuge  near  the 
border  in  Sierra  Leone  were  forced  to  flee  to  safer  areas  in 
that  country,  or  to  Guinea  or  NPFL-held  territory  in  Liberia. 
Many  who  reached  Sierra  Leone's  capital  subsec[uently  returned 
to  Monrovia  by  ship.   Some  refugees  have  also  repatriated  to 
Liberia  from  Guinea,  Cote  d'lvoire,  Ghana,  and  Nigeria.   The 
NPFL  incursion  also  put  Sierra  Leonians  to  flight,  and  a 
reported  12,000  sought  refuge  inside  Liberia  near  the  border  at 
Cape  Mount . 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Despite  constitutional  and  legal  guarantees  of  free  and  fair 
elections,  Liberians  could  not  exercise  their  right  to  change 
their  government  in  1991.   However,  there  was  limited  progress 
in  the  search  for  new  political  formulas  to  restore  unity  under 
popularly  elected  leadership.   In  March-April,  a  second 
All-Liberia  Conference  (ALC)  occurred  in  Monrovia  (the  first 
was  held  in  August  1990  in  The  Gambia).   The  NPFL  initially  i 
participated,  but  later  withdrew.   The  second  ALC  created  a  new 



Interim  Legislative  Assembly  (ILA) .   The  six  political  parties 
and  the  NPFL  selected  representatives  according  to  their  own 
internal  procedures,  while  the  county  representatives  were 
selected  informally  from  among  members  of  the  respective 
communities  resident  in  Monrovia.   Two  seats  were  also  allotted 
to  the  country's  18  registered  interest  groups,  and  filled  by 
leaders  from  the  Teachers'  Association  and  the  Trade  Union 
Federation.   In  August  the  IMPEL  representatives  resigned  from 
the  ILA  after  their  leader.  Prince  Johnson,  withdrew  his 
support  for  the  Interim  Government.   (The  NPFL  maintained  its 
separate  legislature.  The  National  Patriotic  Reconstruction 
Assembly,  in  Gbarnga.)  The  second  ALC  reaffirmed  through  a 
more  widely  based  conference  the  interim  administration  which 
had  resulted  from  the  first  ALC  at  Banjul.   The  IGNU  is  a 
relatively  broad-based  government  with  representation  from  the 
major  political  parties.   Amos  Sawyer  was  originally  chosen 
President  by  the  participants  at  the  first  ALC,  and  he  was 
reaffirmed  in  that  office  by  the  participants  in  the  second  ALC. 

Neither  the  legislature  in  Monrovia  nor  that  in  Gbarnga  was 
truly  representative.   However,  the  ILA  in  Monrovia  purported 
to  function  as  a  separate  branch  of  government  and  both 
confirmed  and  rejected  IGNU  appointees  following  public 
confirmation  hearings.   It  also  subpoenaed  members  of  the 
executive  to  explain  the  actions  of  the  Interim  Government.   In 
contrast,  the  NPFL  legislature  was  generally  viewed  as 
subservient  to  NPFL  leadership  views. 

Following  a  new  series  of  peace  initiatives  during  the  second 
half  of  1991,  conducted  by  the  heads  of  numerous  West  African 
nations  in  Yamoussoukro,  Cote  d'lvoire,  the  Interim  Government 
in  Monrovia  and  the  NPFL  in  Gbarnga  agreed  to  hold  free  and 
fair  elections  which,  if  the  process  continued,  were  expected 
to  take  place  during  the  first  half  of  1992.   Under  the 
Yamoussoukro  formula,  the  three  warring  factions  would  encamp 
and  disarm  their  military  forces  under  ECOMOG  supervision. 
Subsequently  an  elections  commission  and  an  ad  hoc  Supreme 
Court  were  established  by  IGNU  and  the  NPFL,  and  the  members 
were  appointed  by  mutual  agreement.   The  electoral  commission 
held  its  first  meeting  on  December  31  and  was  formally  sworn  in 
several  days  later.   By  year's  end,  the  ad  hoc  Supreme  Court 
had  not  yet  met . 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights . 

On  numerous  occasions.  Interim  Government  President  Sawyer 
declared  the  IGNU's  commitment  to  human  rights.   Two  fledgling 
human  rights  groups  formed  in  1991  and  conducted  public 
meetings  and  other  activities.   One  issued  the  first  of  what  it 
hopes  will  become  a  regular  publication  on  human  rights.   The 
attitude  of  the  NPFL  government  was  not  clear.   Its  conduct  to 
date  has  been  less  than  exemplary.   One  human  rights 
organizations  based  in  NPFL  territory  was  established  in  1991. 

In  August  a  representative  of  Africa  Watch  visited  Monrovia  and 
later  successfully  traveled  to  NPFL  areas.   However,  a 
delegation  of  the  New  York-based  Lawyers'  Committee  on  Human 
Rights,  which  also  visited  Monrovia  in  August,  did  not  go  to 
NPFL  areas  because  an  NPFL  escort  failed  to  meet  the  delegates 
as  previously  arranged. 



Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status. 

The  roots  of  the  civil  conflict  can  be  found  in  the  historical 
division  between  the  Americo-Liberians,  who  for  over  150  years 
dominated  the  political,  economic,  and  cultural  life  of  the 
country,  and  the  ethnic  groups  in  the  interior.   The  latter 
frec[uently  complained  of  government  discrimination  in  many 
areas,  such  as  access  to  education  and  civil  service  jobs  and 
to  infrastructure  development.   The  coup  mounted  by  Sergeant 
Doe  and  other  noncommissioned  officers  in  1980  was  seen  as  a 
revolution,  with  the  interior  groups  taking  power  from  the 
Americo-Liberian  elites.   However,  Doe's  authoritarian, 
military-based  regime  exacerbated  ethnic  tensions  while 
subverting  the  democratic  reform  process,  exemplified  in  the 
1985  Constitution,  through  rigged  elections.   During  the  Doe 
regime,  resentment  grew  over  domination  by,  and  government 
favoritism  toward,  his  tribe,  the  Krahns. 

The  1985  Constitution  prohibited  discrimination  based  on  ethnic 
background,  race,  sex,  creed,  place  of  origin  or  political 
opinion.   However,  it  also  provides  that  only  "persons  who  are 
Negroes  or  of  Negro  descent"  may  be  citizens  or  own  land, 
denying  full  rights  to  many  who  have  lived  their  lives  in 
Liberia.   There  was  no  indication  that  this  prohibition  had 
been  relaxed  by  either  Monrovia's  Interim  Government  or 
Gbarnga ' s  NPFL  government . 

The  status  of  women  in  Liberian  society  varies  by  region,  with 
women  holding  some  skilled  jobs,  including  cabinet-level 
positions,  in  both  the  IGNU  and  NPFL  Governments.   In  urban 
areas  and  along  the  coast,  women  can  inherit  land  and 
property.   In  rural  areas,  where  traditional  customs  are 
stronger,  a  woman  is  normally  considered  the  property  of  her 
husband  and  his  clan  and  is  not  usually  entitled  to  inherit 
from  her  husband.   Women  in  rural  areas  are  responsible  for 
much  of  the  farm  labor  and  have  had  only  limited  access  to 
education.   According  to  a  recent  U.N.  study,  females  in 
Liberia  receive  only  about  28  percent  of  the  schooling  given  to 
males.   In  the  massive  violence  inflicted  on  civilians  during, 
the  conflict,  women  have  suffered  the  gamut  of  abuses, 
especially  rape.   Even  prior  to  the  war,  domestic  violence 
against  women  was  extensive  but  never  seriously  addressed  by 
the  Government  or  women's  groups  as  an  issue.   There  were  no 
statistics  on  domestic  violence  against  women,  but  it  was 
considered  to  be  fairly  common.   Female  circumcision  was,  and 
almost  certainly  still  is,  widely  practiced  in  rural  areas. 

During  the  height  of  the  civil  war,  a  person's  language  was 
used  to  identify  him  or  her  by  ethnic  group.   Those  from  groups 
considered  hostile  frequently  were  summarily  executed.   The 
cease-fire  in  late  1990  stopped  most  of  these  abuses.   However, 
NPFL  reprisals  against  the  Krahn,  particularly  in  Grand  Gedeh, 
continued  well  into  1991  (see  Section  l.g.). 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

The  Constitution  states  that  workers  have  the  right  to 
associate  in  trade  unions.   Over  20  trade  unions  were 
registered  with  the  Ministry  of  Labor  before  the  civil  war, 
representing  roughly  15  percent  of  the  work  force  in  the  wage 
economy.   Ten  national  unions  were  members  of  the  Liberian 
Federation  of  Labor  Unions  (LFLU) .   However,  the  actual  power 



these  unions  exercised  was  limited.   The  previous  government 
did  not  recognize  the  right  of  civil  servants  or  employees  of 
public  corporations  to  unionize  or  strike.   Like  virtually  all 
other  organized  activity  in  the  country,  unions  disappeared 
during  the  height  of  the  war  in  mid-1990,  and  union  activity 
remained  limited  in  1991.   While  some  large-scale  operations 
involving  rubber  and  other  extractive  industries  partially 
resumed  in  NPFL  areas,  it  is  not  known  if  union  activity 
associated  with  these  industries  resumed. 

In  April  1990,  the  U.S.  Trade  Representative  announced  that 
Liberia's  status  as  a  beneficiary  of  trade  preferences  under 
the  Generalized  System  of  Preferences  program  had  been 
suspended  as  a  result  of  the  Doe  government's  failure  to  take 
steps  to  provide  internationally  recognized  worker  rights.   The 
suspension  remained  in  effect  throughout  1991. 

Labor  unions  have  traditionally  affiliated  with  international 
labor'  groups. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

In  1991  workers'  rights  to  organize  and  bargain  collectively 
were  moot  because  of  the  lack  of  economic  enterprise, 
especially  in  Monrovia  where  only  a  few  businesses  resumed 
operations,  usually  with  reduced  staffing.   With  the  important 
exception  of  civil  servants  and  employees  of  public 
corporations,  prior  to  the  civil  war  workers  enjoyed  the  right 
to  organize  and  bargain  collectively.   Labor  laws  had  the  same 
force  in  Liberia's  one  export  processing  zone  as  in  the  rest  of 
the  country. 

The  1991  report  of  the  Committee  of  Experts  (COE)  of  the 
International  Labor  Organization  (ILO)  reiterated  that  Liberian 
labor  legislation  fails  to  provide  workers  adequate  protection 
against  discrimination  and  reprisals  for  union  activity,  fails 
to  protect  workers'  organizations  against  outside  interference, 
and  does  not  give  eligible  workers  in  the  public  sector  the 
opportunity  to  bargain  collectively. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

The  Constitution  prohibits  forced  labor,  but  even  before  the 
civil  war  this  prohibition  was  widely  ignored  in  rural  areas, 
where  farmers  were  pressured  into  providing  free  labor  on 
"community  projects"  which  often  benefited  only  local  leaders. 
Forced  labor  was  used  by  some  or  all  of  the  warring  factions 
during  the  civil  war,  especially  for  moving  equipment  and 
supplies.   Some  vestiges  persisted  in  1991;  for  example,  a 
local  newspaper  reported  that  following  the  incursion  into 
Sierra  Leone  in  March,  the  NPFL  used  forced  labor  in  Lofa 
County  to  move  supplies  to  the  border.   According  to  the  same 
source,  forced  labor  was  also  used  to  clean  up  several  major 
towns  in  Lofa  County.   There  was  at  least  one  report  of  the 
NPFL  forcing  local  villagers  to  set  up  a  communal  farm  to  feed 
its  soldiers,  also  in  Lofa  County. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

Under  the  Doe  government,  the  law  prohibited  employment  of 
children  under  age  16  during  school  hours  in  the  wage  sector. 
Enforcement  by  the  Ministry  of  Labor,  however,  was  very 
limited.   Even  before  the  civil  war,  small  children  continued 
to  assist  their  parents  as  vendors  in  local  markets  and  on 
family  subsistence  farms.   During  the  conflict,  the  NPFL  and 




INPFL  recruited  young  children,  some  less  than  12  years  of  age, 
as  soldiers.   Many  of  these  children  had  been  orphaned  during 
the  war.   While  some  children  remained  under  arms,  neither 
group  was  believed  to  have  recruited  additional  children  as 
soldiers  in  1991. 

e.   Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  labor  law  provides  for  a  minimum  wage,  paid  leave, 
severance  benefits,  and  safety  standards.   Before  the  economy 
collapsed,  the  legal  minimum  wage  varied  according  to 
profession  but  still  did  not  provide  a  decent  standard  of 
living  for  a  worker  and  his  family  and  had  to  be  supplemented 
by  other  sources  of  income,  including  subsistence  farming. 
There  had  also  been  health  and  safety  standards,  in  theory 
enforced  by  the  Ministry  of  Labor.   In  view  of  the  low  level  of 
economic  activity  in  divided  Liberia  during  1991,  these  various 
regulations  were  not  adhered  to  by  many  employers,  and  there 
was  no  attempt  at  enforcement. 



When  1991  began.  President  Didier  Ratsiraka,  who  had  been  in 
power  since  1975,  and  his  party,  the  Vanguard  of  the  Malagasy 
Revolution  (AREMA) ,  dominated  the  Government.   By  midyear,  the 
nation's  "Active  Forces"  (a  group  of  opposition  political 
parties,  church  groups,  workers'  syndicates,  and  private  sector 
groups)  were  organizing  almost  daily  demonstrations  that 
challenged  the  Ratsiraka  regime  to  meet  demands  for  fundamental 
political  change.   Civil  servants  also  began  a  widely  observed 
strike  that  crippled  the  Government's  administrative 
apparatus.   The  Government  consequently  agreed  to  negotiate, 
and  on  October  31  a  compromise  convention  established  an 
interim  Government  which  reduced  the  powers  of  President 
Ratsiraka.   This  Government,  headed  by  Prime  Minister 
Razanamazy  and  including  many  opposition  members,  is  tasked  to 
provide  a  new  constitution  and  elections  within  18  months.   The 
National  Assembly  suspended  its  activities  according  to  the 
October  31  compromise,  and  transitional  institutions  were 
established,  including  a  31-member  High  Authority  of  State,  a 
transitional  administration,  and  a  130-seat  Council  for 
Economic  and  Social  Recovery.   After  much  debate,  a 
transitional  cabinet  with  considerable  opposition  membership 
was  named  in  mid-December.   Strikes  and  demonstrations 
continued  although  to  a  far  lesser  extent. 

The  gendarmerie  (rural  police)  and  the  national  police  (urban 
police)  are  responsible  for  internal  security.   At  the  year's 
end,  the  Directorate  General  of  Internal  and  External 
Investigations  and  Documentation  (DGIDIE)  remained  under  the 
authority  of  President  Ratsiraka,  although  the  DGIDIE  director 
also  reported  to  the  Prime  Minister.   In  the  past,  the  DGIDIE 
and  the  police  employed  physical  mistreatment  of  detainees, 
particularly  during  interrogation,  but  reports  indicate  the 
DGIDIE  stopped  such  practices  by  mid-1990.   The  presidential 
security  guard,  a  unit  of  1,800  men,  remains  under  the  direct 
command  of  the  President.   In  an  October  25  statement,  senior 
officers  of  the  military  and  the  gendarmerie  called  on  all 
political  leaders  to  move  urgently  toward  a  compromise, 
demonstrating  a  degree  of  neutrality  on  their  part. 

Agriculture,  especially  rice  production,  dominates  the  Malagasy 
economy.   About  85  percent  of  the  working  population  (39.3 
percent  of  the  country's  12  million  inhabitants)  are  employed 
in  this  sector,  accounting  for  80  percent  of  Madagascar's 
export  earnings.   Rich  in  minerals,  Madagascar  also  has  a  small 
industrial  base  which  accounts  for  15  percent  of  the  gross 
domestic  product.   Personal  incomes  remain  very  low,  and 
unemployment  remains  high,  particularly  among  youth  (60  percent 
of  the  population  is  under  25) .   The  strikes  in  support  of  the 
opposition  have  had  a  serious  negative  impact  on  an  already 
weak  economy. 

Serious  human  rights  abuses  occurred  during  1991,  despite  the 
Government's  increased  tolerance  of  the  freedoms  of  speech, 
press,  and  assembly,  and  popular  pressures  for  a  more  rapid 
pace  of  political  reform.   In  particular,  while  attempting  to 
control  and  disperse  crowds  of  demonstrators  in  Antsiranana, 
Antananarivo,  and  Mahajanga,  security  forces  used  tear  gas, 
stun  grenades,  and  other  tactics  which  killed  and  injured 
numerous  demonstrators  (see  Section  l.a.).   An  effective 
government  capable  of  performing  basic  functions  was  not  in 
place  for  much  of  the  year. 




Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reported  incidents  of  targeted  political  killing 
in  1991.   However,  on  several  occasions,  security  personnel 
used  force,  sometimes  excessive,  to  disperse  demonstrators  who 
participated  in  marches.   In  some  cases,  the  demonstrators 
engaged  in  looting  and  other  vandalizing  activity.   On  August 
10,  opposition  leaders  led  a  crowd  estimated  at  over  100,000  on 
a  march  on  the  presidential  palace  of  lavoloha,  located  about 
13  kilometers  outside  the  capital.   The  demonstrators  passed 
two  security  checkpoints  without  being  hindered  by  security 
forces.   However,  when  the  crowd  began  to  pass  a  final 
barricade  approximately  1  kilometer  from  the  presidential 
palace,  the  army  and  presidential  guard  dispersed  it,  first 
with  teargas,  then  by  dropping  stun  grenades  from  a  helicopter 
that  had  been  positioned  at  the  presidential  palace  and 
reportedly  firing  rifles  into  the  crowd.   A  group  of  civilians, 
reportedly  transported  to  Antananarivo  from  the  south  by  the 
Government,  were  interspersed  among  the  soldiers  and  threw 
stones  at  the  retreating  crowd.   In  the  ensuing  confusion,  some 
demonstrators  spilled  over  from  the  road  into  bordering  rice 
paddies,  which  had  been  mined.   Retreating  demonstrators  were 
pursued,  and  medical  personnel  confirm  that  at  least  two  were 
shot  in  the  back.   At  least  11  demonstrators  were  killed  in 
this  incident,  and  over  200  injured.   Another  20  died  later  of 
their  wounds. 

Later  on  August  10  in  the  northwest  city  of  Mahajanga,  a  group 
of  12,000  to  15,000  demonstrators  looted  and  burned  private 
businesses  and  government  buildings.   Reportedly,  five  were 
killed  and  seven  injured  when  security  forces  used  tear  gas  and 
stun  grenades . 

Again,  on  October  23,  a  group  of  demonstrators  in  the  northern 
city  of  Antsiranana  attempted,  despite  verbal  warnings  and 
warning  shots,  to  enter  a  security  zone.   Subsequently,  one 
member  of  the  security  forces  rolled  an  offensive  fragmentary 
grenade  into  the  street.   Reportedly,  2  demonstrators  were 
killed,  and  76  injured,  many  as  they  fled  through  a 
construction  area. 

In  late  July  and  early  August,  four  persons  were  killed  in  the 
port  city  of  Toamasina  during  political  demonstrations.   Two  of 
the  deaths  allegedly  occurred  at  the  hands  of  vigilantes 
belonging  to  the  Militant  Movement  for  Malagasy  Socialism 
(MMSM),  the  then  governing  political  coalition;  the  third 
victim  was  allegedly  shot  in  the  back  by  security  forces.   The 
fourth  victim,  an  MMSM  supporter,  was  reportedly  killed  by 
Active  Forces'  supporters. 

With  the  weakening  of  the  police  and  gendarmerie's  ability  to 
keep  order,  mob  action  against  suspected  criminals  became  more 
frequent  in  July  and  August.  At  least  five  alleged  thieves 
were  chased,  caught,  beaten,  and  killed  by  angry  crowds  in  four 
separate  incidents.   Their  bodies  were  burned,  and  no  official 
actions  were  taken  to  apprehend  or  punish  those  responsible. 

50-726  -  92  -  8 


MADAGASCAR  '     '' 

b.  Disappearance 

Following  the  clash  on  August  10,  opposition  leaders  claimed  57 
persons  who  had  participated  in  the  march  on  lavoloha  were 
missing  and  had  been  killed  and  buried.   Though  requested  to  do 
so,  the  opposition  did  not  provide  a  list  of  names  of  those 
said  to  be  missing,  and  no  relatives  came  forward  in  response 
to  an  appeal  by  a  local  human  rights  group.   The  presidential 
palace  turned  over  two  bodies  to  families  of  the  deceased. 
Prime  Minister  Guy  Razanamasy  set  up  a  commission  of  inquiry  to 
formally  investigate  the  events  of  August  10.   Also,  the 
opposition-dominated  High  Authority  of  State  announced  an 
investigation.   By  year's  end,  the  Prime  Minister's  report  had 
been  turned  over  to  the  Ministry  of  Justice,  though  its  content 
was  not  publicized. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

In  the  past,  the  DGIDIE  (the  intelligence  unit)  has  beaten 
prisoners  in  its  custody,  although  there  were  no  reports  of 
such  abuses  in  1991.   The  director  of  the  DGIDIE,  a  judge 
appointed  in  mid-1990,  has  attempted  to  reform  the 
organization,  stating  publicly  in  1991  that  the  role  of  the 
DGIDIE  was  to  protect  the  rights  of  the  individual. 

Conditions  in  Malagasy  prisons  are  harsh  and  life  threatening. 
The  diet  provided  is  inadequate,  and  family  members  must 
augment  inmates'  daily  food  rations.   Those  prisoners  without 
relatives  in  the  vicinity  sometimes  go  for  days  without  food 
and  some  have  starved  in  the  past.   Prison  cells  built  for  one 
inmate  are  now  housing  up  to  eight.   Each  prisoner  has  on 
average  less  than  one  square  meter  of  space.   Prisoners  suffer 
a  wide  range  of  medical  problems  that  are  not  routinely 
treated,  including  mainour ishment,  infections,  malaria,  and 
tuberculosis.   The  prison  death  toll  rises  significantly  during 
the  winter  months.   A  number  of  children  live  in  the  prisons 
with  their  mothers,  and  there  is  prostitution  by  female  inmates 
in  collusion  with  guards. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Legal  safeguards  against  arbitrary  arrest  and  detention  are  not 
always  followed.   According  to  the  law,  in  a  normal  criminal 
case,  the  detainee  must  be  charged  or  released  within  3  days 
after  arrest.   An  arrest  warrant  may  be  obtained  but  is  not 
always  required.   Generally,  defendants  in  ordinary  criminal 
cases  are  charged  formally  within  the  specified  time  frame, 
and,  upon  being  charged,  are  allowed  to  obtain  an  attorney. 
Counsel  is  readily  available,  and  court-appointed  counsel  is 
provided  for  indigents.   Bail  may  be  requested  by  the  accused 
or  his  attorney  immediately  after  arrest,  after  being  formally 
charged,  or  during  the  appeal  process.   Denial  of  bail  may  be 
appealed.   The  Malagasy  penal  code  provides  for  a  determination 
of  habeas  corpus . 

Despite  these  legal  provisions,  average  pretrial  detention  time 
exceeds  1  year,  and  3  or  4  years  of  detention  is  common,  even 
for  crimes  for  which  the  maximum  penalty  may  be  2  years  or 
less.   Prisoners  may  wait  years  in  prison  only  to  be  found  not 
guilty,  with  no  recourse.   The  judicial  process,  always  slow, 
was  mired  down  even  further  in  1991  by  a  magistrates'  strike  in 
support  of  the  political  opposition.   During  July  and  August, 
several  hundred  prisoners  walked  away  from  their  places  of 
incarceration  when  prison  guards  joined  the  strike. 



Under  Malagasy  law,  persons  suspected  of  activity  against  the 
State  may  be  detained  incommunicado  for  15  days,  subject  to 
indefinite  extension  if  deemed  necessary  by  the  Government. 
Over  the  summer  the  opposition  named  a  shadow  government  as 
part  of  its  strategy  to  contest  power  and  instructed  its  shadow 
ministers  to  ocfcupy  government  ministries.   In  July  four  of  the 
shadow  ministers  were  detained  by  government  security  forces. 
Two  were  detained  while  trying  to  enter  ministry  buildings;  the 
other  two  were  taken  into  custody  on  the  street .   They  were 
held  incommunicado  and  released  several  days  later.   While  two 
of  the  detentions  were  witnessed  and  one  actually  photographed, 
the  other  two  were  not  verified  and  were  treated  with  some 
skepticism  in  the  press.   The  abductions  were  believed  to  have 
been  carried  out  by  the  Government's  antiterrorist  squad.   None 
of  the  incidents  were  ever  investigated,  and  the  guilty  parties 
remain  unpunished.   At  the  end  of  1991,  there  were  no  persons 
held  under  this  provision. 

In  late  July  and  early  August,  57  arrests  were  made  in  the  port 
city  of  Toamasina  during  the  demonstrations.   The  arrests  were 
authorized  by  the  mayor  and  carried  out  by  gendarmerie 
"antigang"  units  who  concealed  their  identities  and  security 
affiliation.   A  Malagasy  lawyer  questioned  whether  these  units 
were  legally  empowered  to  make  the  arrests,  stating  that  only 
military  police  or  gendarmes  using  proper  arrest  procedures 
have  that  authority.   It  was  reported  that  the  detainees  had 
been  denied  access  to  counsel  and  to  family  members.   All 
detainees  were  confirmed  released  by  late  September. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Malagasy  trials  are  public,  and  defendants  have  the  right  to  be 
present,  to  confront  witnesses,  and  to  present  evidence. 
Defendants  enjoy  a  presumption  of  innocence  under  the  Malagasy 
penal  code. 

The  1975  Constitution  provides  for  an  independent  judiciary, 
and,  in  practice,  the  judiciary  seems  to  function  largely 
without  influence  from  the  executive.   However,  the  judiciary, 
unlike  the  executive  and  legislative  branches,  is  not  a 
separate  branch  of  government.   One  aim  of  the  1991 
magistrates'  strike  was  constitutional  reform  to  raise  the 
judiciary  to  the  level  of  a  separate  government  branch. 

The  judiciary  has  three  levels  of  courts:   lower  courts  for 
civil  and  criminal  cases  carrying  limited  fines  and  sentences; 
a  Court  of  Appeals  which  includes  a  criminal  court  for  cases 
carrying  sentences  of  5  years  or  more;  and  a  Supreme  Court. 
The  judiciary  also  has  a  number  of  special  courts  designed  to 
handle  specific  kinds  of  cases  under  the  jurisdiction  of  the 
higher  courts. 

The  Constitutional  High  Court,  with  a  separate  and  autonomous 
status,  is  a  body  for  review  of  laws,  decrees,  and  ordinances, 
and  for  oversight  of  elections  and  certification  of  their 
results.   It  is  clearly  separated  from  the  judicial  hierarchy. 

Extralegal  institutions  known  as  "dina"  also  exist  as  a  means 
of  conflict  resolution.   Dina  are  village-based  pacts  and  exist 
as  specific  agreements  between  villages.   Technically,  dina 
handle  only  civil  matters  among  villages;  criminal  cases  are  to 
be  turned  over  to  the  court  system.   In  practice,  the  dina  have 
been  used  to  settle  cattle  rustling  cases,  prevalent  in  the 
south.   Decisions  by  dina  are  not  subject  to  procedural 
protections  of  due  process  or  to  judicial  review.   Dina  are 



traditional  means  of  conflict  resolution.   Decisions  are 
considered  just  as  long  as  the  parties  involved  accept  this 
traditional  concept. 

A  military  court  has  jurisdiction  over  all  cases  involving 
national  security.   The  definition  of  national  security  is 
largely  a  matter  of  interpretation  by  the  authorities  but 
includes  acts  constituting  a  threat  to  the  nation  and  its 
political  leaders,  invasion  by  foreign  forces,  and  riots  that 
could  lead  to  an  overthrow  of  the  Government.   In  exceptional 
cases,  civilians  may  be  tried  in  the  military  court  if  charged 
with  breaking  military  laws.   Military  courts,  like  civilian 
courts,  provide  for  an  appeal  process  and  are  presided  over  by 
civilian  magistrates.   The  rank  of  the  four  military  officers 
comprising  the  court  is  determined  by  the  rank  of  the  accused. 

There  were  no  reports  of  political  prisoners  being  held  in 
Madagascar  at  year's  end. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

The  State  does  not  generally  intervene  in  the  private  aspects 
of  the  lives  of  the  people.   The  home  is  inviolable  under 
Malagasy  tradition  and  law,  though  the  Constitution  permits 
authorities,  to  enter  homes  where  a  suspect  is  caught  in  a 
criminal  act  or  where  the  owner  explicitly  consents  to  a 
search.   There  is  no  known  monitoring  of  telephones  or 
correspondence . 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Press  censorship  was  suspended  in  1989  and  formally  abolished 
in  December  1990.   Beginning  in  1989,  the  print  media  have 
openly  criticized  both  the  Government  and  the  opposition. 
Opposition  parties,  independent  trade  unions,  professional 
associations  and  others  have  benefited  from  regular  access  to 
the  newspapers  and  journals  and  often  have  their  statements 
pxiblished.   Following  the  temporary  reimposition  of  censorship 
under  the  State  of  Emergency  in  July,  the  press  first  printed 
both  censored  and  uncensored  editions  and  then,  within  a  few 
days,  decided  to  ignore  the  censor  because  the  Government  did 
not  enforce  the  emergency  censorship  regulation. 

By  mid-1991,  the  state-owned  Malagasy  Radio-Television  (RTM) 
had  begun  to  broadcast  a  weekly  discussion  program,  often 
featuring  prominent  opposition  figures,  and  to  televise  live 
each  evening  the  French  Antenne  2  network  news.   However,  the 
Government  kept  close  watch  over  these  important  media 
outlets.   During  May  and  June,  the  RTM  provided  limited 
coverage  of  opposition  activities,  and  in  late  June  RTM  ceased 
coverage  of  opposition  activities  altogether.   RTM  personnel 
joined  the  general  strike  in  part  to  protest  this  tight 
government  control.   While  a  portion  of  the  RTM  strikers 
returned  following  the  installation  of  a  new  cabinet  led  by 
Prime  Minister  Razanamasy  in  late  August,  some  of  the  remaining 
RTM  strikers  created  a  private  radio  station.  Radio  Active 
Forces,  without  benefit  of  a  license  from  the  Government.   In 
October  Prime  Minister  Razanamazy  gained  control  of  television 
facilities  which  had  been  moved  to  the  presidential  palace. 
Since  then,  television  news  has  covered  the  full  spectrum  of 
political  activities.   A  Sunday  program  was  inauguarated  in 
October  featuring  lively  debate  among  political  figures. 



Academic  freedom  was  in  theory  restricted  by  a  constitutional 
prohibition  of  any  public  lectures  or  teachings  that  condemn 
the  Socialist  revolution.   However,  this  provision  was  deleted 
in  the  constitutional  reform  package  presented  by  President 
Ratsiraka  to  the  National  Assembly  in  June.   In  1991  high 
school  students  in  Antananarivo  were  prevented  from  taking 
their  baccalaureate  examinations  by  opposition  demonstrators. 
Teacher  strikes  which  mingled  opposition  and  union  demands 
largely  paralyzed  the  public  education  sector  during  the  second 
half  of  the  year . 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Some  legal  restrictions  remain  on  the  right  of  assembly  and 
association.   Municipal  permits  are  required  to  hold  public 
meetings  and  may  be  denied  by  the  Government  on  the  grounds  of 
endangering  national  security.   However,  from  the  time  the 
protest  movement  began  in  May,  Antananarivo  municipal 
authorities  granted  the  opposition  permission  to  hold  their 
rallies.   Despite  the  State  of  Emergency,  which  technically 
banned  political  meetings,  municipal  authorities  continued  to 
permit  opposition  rallies  to  take  place.   However,  in  several 
cities,  the  Government  set  up  security  zones  which 
demonstrators  were  not  allowed  to  enter.   The  violent  events 
cited  in  Section  l.a.  took  place  as  marchers  crossed  into  these 
security  zones.   Municipal  authorization  for  rallies  and 
marches  continued  through  year's  end. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  religion.   The 
Government  is  secular,  and  there  is  no  discrimination  on  the 
basis  of  religious  affiliation.   Between  40  and  50  percent  of 
the  population  adheres  to  Christian  beliefs,  with  the  remainder 
following  traditional  Malagasy  beliefs,  Islam,  and  other 
faiths.   Missionaries  and  clergy  are  permitted  to  operate 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

There  is  no  restriction  on  travel  within  the  country.   All 
Malagasy  must  obtain  official  approval  for  trips  outside  the 
country.   All  residents  of  Madagascar  (Malagasy  and  foreign) 
require  exit  visas  issued  by  the  Ministry  of  Interior,  but 
these  are  seldom  denied.   There  is  no  refugee  population  in 
Madagascar . 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

At  the  end  of  the  year,  this  right  remained  in  question  as 
Madagascar  had  not  yet  undergone  fully  free  and  fair  general 
elections.   However,  a  transitional  process  intended  to  bring 
about  a  new  constitution  and  new  elections  by  1993  was  under 
way.   Under  these  interim  arrangements  brought  about  by  popular 
pressure,  governmental  power  had  shifted  substantially  from 
President  Ratsiraka  and  the  institutions  of  the  1975 
Constitution  to  Prime  Minister  Razanamazy  and  the  transitional 
institutions  established  under  the  October  31  convention.   The 
legislature  and  Supreme  Revolutionary  Council  had  been 
suspended  in  accord  with  the  convention,  and  the  nonelected, 
transitional  institutions  that  replaced  them  provided  for 
significant  opposition  representation.   A  36-member  Cabinet  for 
the  transitional  Government  was  named  in  mid-December  in  which 



the  Active  Forces  held  some  key  ministries  and  about  40  percent 
of  all  seats;  the  Cabinet  had  no  AREMA  members. 

Suffrage  is  universal,  with  no  discrimination  based  on  sex  or 
minority  status.   There  is  recognition  among  members  of  the 
MMSM,  the  opposition  parties,  and  civic  organizations  that  the 
electoral  system  must  be  reformed  in  order  to  prevent  such 
abuses  as  voter  intimidation  at  the  local  level. 

The  electoral  system  is  complex,  with  individual  parties,  not 
the  national  Government,  responsible  for  printing  ballots  and 
distributing  them  to  all  voting  sites.   Costs  associated  with 
ballots  must  be  borne  by  the  parties,  and  only  those  parties 
garnering  a  minimum  10  percent  of  the  vote  are  reimbursed  for 
those  costs.   A  special  legislative  by-election  was  held  on 
February  3  to  fill  seats  in  three  districts.   The  MMSM  fielded 
three  candidates,  while  the  the  Active  Forces  chose  to  present 
candidates  from  individual  parties  rather  than  the  coalition. 
In  each  case,  the  MMSM  candidate  won.   Although  there  were 
allegations  of  misuse  of  government  assets  in  favor  of  the  MMSM 
candidates  and  voter  intimidation,  the  widely  respected 
National  Committee  of  Election  Observers  (CNOE)  confirmed  that 
the  MMSM  candidates  were  in  fact  the  winners.   At  year's  end, 
36  political  parties  were  legally  registered  in  Madagascar. 

The  Christian  Council  of  Churches  (FFKM)  is  at  the  forefront  of 
the  constitutional  reform  movement  and  played  a  major  role  in 
mediating  the  compromise  solution  of  October  31  between  the 
Government  and  the  Active  Forces.   The  FFKM  is  composed  of  the 
Anglican,  Catholic,  Lutheran,  and  Church  of  Jesus  Christ 
(Protestant  reformed)  Churches,  representing  about  50  percent 
of  the  Christian  churches  operating  in  Madagascar. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

Human  rights  groups  are  considered  to  be  political  groups  under 
Malagasy  law  and  must  register  with  the  Government.   At  the 
beginning  of  1991,  the  National  Committee  of  Election  Observers 
attempted  to  register  as  a  nonpartisan,  human  rights  group  but 
was  denied  registration  by  the  Ministry  of  the  Interior,  which 
insisted  that  CNOE  should  register  as  a  political  group.   While 
an  appeal  to  the  courts  is  pending,  CNOE  continues  to  function 
and  increasingly  played  a  mediation  role  in  1991  during  the 
political  crisis.   In  the  last  half  of  the  year,  a  number  of 
new  human  rights  organizations  emerged,  although  in  no  instance 
had  the  application  process  for  their  legal  registration  been 
completed  at  year's  end.   Magistrates  have  been  on  strike  for 
several  months,  causing  serious  backlogs  in  the  legal  system. 

The  Government  historically  has  not  cooperated  with  groups 
wishing  to  investigate  alleged  human  rights  violations.   In 
1991  it  did  permit  visits  by  regional  delegates  of  the 
International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross  (ICRC)  to  confer  on 
educational  activities  with  regional  representatives  of  the 
Malagasy  chapter  of  the  Red  Cross. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Madagascar  is  inhabited  by  approximately  12  million  people, 
mainly  of  mixed  Malayo-Polynesian  and  African  origins,  and  are 
divided  into  18  distinct  groups  based  on  regional  and  ancestral 
affiliation.   While  legal  discrimination  does  not  exist. 



favoritism  based  on  regional  origin  is  often  a  determining 
factor  in  selecting  personnel  for  positions  in  ministries  and 
the  private  sector.   In  addition,  in  1991  supporters  of  the 
President  attempted  to  exploit  ethnic  tensions  to  counter  the 
oppo  s  i  t  i  on  movement . 

An  Indo-Pakistani  community  of  about  24,000,  primarily  engaged 
in  commerce,  has  been  in  Madagascar  since  the  early  part  of 
this  century.   Few  have  integrated  into  local  society, 
preferring  to  retain  their  language,  religion,  and  culture,  and 
most  have  opted  to  retain  French  rather  than  Malagasy 
citizenship.   There  were  several  incidents  of  looting  and 
burning  of  Indo-Pakistani  enterprises  in  the  port  cities  of 
Toamasina  and  Mahajanga  during  the  months  of  June,  July,  and 
August  in  connection  with  the  protest  demonstrations. 

Women  have  traditionally  played  a  prominent  role  in  the 
business  and  economic  life  of  the  country,  with  many  of  them 
managing  or  owning  business  concerns  or  filling  management 
positions  in  state  industries.   Education  at  all  levels  is  open 
to  women,  but  the  participation  of  women  in  secondary  and 
higher  studies  is  much  lower  than  that  of  men.   Women  in  rural 
areas  and  among  the  urban  poor  face  a  greater  degree  of 
hardship,  bearing  the  traditional  responsibilities  of  raising  a 
family  and  engaging  in  farm  labor  or  other  subsistence 
activities.   Under  the  law,  wives  have  an  equal  say  in  choosing 
where  a  married  couple  will  reside,  and  they  receive  a  more  or 
less  equitable  distribution  of  marital  property  in  divorce 
cases.   In  the  case  of  the  death  of  a  husband,  a  wife  inherits 
one-half  of  the  joint  marital  wealth.   A  widow  receives  a 
pension;  however,  a  widower  does  not. 

According  to  various  sources,  including  magistrates, 
journalists,  and  women  doctors,  violence  against  women,  such  as 
wife  beating,  is  not  widespread.   Malagasy  society  tends  to 
resolve  conflict  through  a  combination  of  patience  and 
negotiation,  and  marital  confrontation  is  not  considered 
acceptable;  in  the  rare  cases  where  physical  abuse  is  detected, 
police  and  legal  authorities  do  intervene,  although  there  is  no 
law  dealing  specifically  with  violence  against  women. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

The  Malagasy  in  both  the  public  and  private  sector  have  the 
right  in  law  and  in  practice  to  establish  and  join  labor  unions 
of  their  own  choosing  without  prior  authorization.   Unions  are 
required  to  register  with  the  Government,  and  registration  is 
routinely  granted.   However,  the  labor  force  of  4.9  million  is 
mostly  agrarian  (85  percent),  and  unionized  labor  accounts  for 
less  than  5  percent  of  the  total.   Many  unions  are  affiliated 
with  political  parties. 

In  organizing  workers  during  opposition  rallies  this  year,  the 
Active  Forces  bypassed  the  unions  and  organized  "strike 
committees."   These  committees  made  the  decision  to  strike  or 
not  to  strike  for  the  opposition  throughout  the  period  of 
political  turmoil.   Civil  servants,  with  the  exception  of  those 
providing  "vital  services  to  the  nation,"  and  private  sector 
workers  have  the  right  to  strike  as  provided  for  in  the  Labor 
Code,  and  many  strikes  occurred  in  1991,  including  a  civil  f 
servants'  strike  which  lasted  over  several  months  and  brought 
the  Government  to  a  near  stop.   Opposition  calls  for  general 
strikes  to  exert  pressure  on  the  Government  were  very  effective. 



Unions  may  freely  form  federations  or  confederations  and 
affiliate  with  and  participate  in  international  bodies.   There 
are  Malagasy  members  in  all  three  trade  union  internationals. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Both  public  and  private  sector  union  activity  is  governed  by 
the  Labor  Code  of  1975,  which  provides  for  free  unions  and  the 
right  to  bargain  collectively.   The  Code  states  that  collective 
bargaining  may  be  undertaken  between  management  and  labor  at 
either  party's  behest.   When  there  is  failure  to  reach 
agreement,  the  Ministry  of  Labor  convenes  a  committee  of 
employment  inspectors  who  attempt  to  resolve  the  matter.   If 
this  process  fails,  the  committee  refers  the  matter  to  the 
Chairman  of  the  Court  of  Appeals  for  final  arbitration. 
Collective  bargaining  agreements  are  not  routinely  negotiated 
but  do  exist.   In  1991  the  strike  at  the  port  of  Toamasina  was 
ended  by  collective  bargaining. 

Although  export  processing  zones  are  authorized  in  Madagascar, 
none  is  currently  functioning. 

The  Labor  Code  formally  prohibits  antiunion  discrimination  by 
employers  against  union  members  and  organizers.   In  the  case  of 
antiunion  activity,  the  union  or  its  members  may  file  a 
petition  in  civil  court  challenging  the  employer.   While  union 
activity  in  this  country  of  high  unemployment  had  been  minimal 
in  the  past,  much  of  the  unionized  population  was  on  strike 
during  the  latter  half  of  1991.   In  the  case  of  the  civil 
service,  salaries  were  paid,  though  sometimes  late,  during  the 
extended  period  of  the  strike,  despite  acute  shortages  of  funds 
due  to  the  dire  state  of  the  economy. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor  is  explicitly  prohibited  by  the  Labor  Code  and  is 
not  practiced. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  Labor  Code  describes  a  child  as  any  person  under  the  age  of 
18.   The  minimum  age  for  employment  is  14,  and  the  use  of  child 
labor  is  prohibited  in  those  areas  where  there  is  apparent  and 
imminent  danger.   The  Government  enforces  these  child  labor 
laws  relatively  effectively  in  the  small  wage  sector  through 
inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of  Civil  Service,  Labor,  and 
Social  Law.   However,  in  the  large  subsistence  agricultural 
sector,  many  young  children  work  with  their  parents  on  family 
farms  at  much  earlier  ages.   Similarly,  in  the  urban  areas, 
many  children  earn  a  living  as  parking  attendants,  newspaper 
vendors,  and  through  other  street  trading. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  Labor  Code  and  its  enforcing  legislation  prescribe  the 
working  conditions  and  wage  scales  for  employees,  to  be 
enforced  by  the  Ministry  of  Labor  and  Social  Law.   The  law 
distinguishes  between  agricultural  and  nonagricultural  work. 
There  is  a  44-hour  workweek  in  nonagricultural  and  service 
industries.   There  are  also  provisions  for  holiday  pay,  sick 
and  maternity  leave,  and  insurance.   There  are  several 
administratively  determined  minimum-wage  rates  in  Madagascar, 
depending  on  employment  skills.   The  lowest  (for  unskilled 
workers)  is  inadequate  to  ensure  a  decent  standard  of  living. 
Accordingly,  such  workers  must  supplement  their  incomes  through 



subsistence  agriculture  or  reliance  on  the  extended  family 
structure.   Given  insufficient  enforcement  measures,  official 
wage  rates  are  sometimes  ignored  as  high  unemployment  leads 
workers  to  accept  salaries  below  the  legal  wage. 

The  Labor  Code  has  rules  concerning  building  safety,  machinery 
and  moving  engines,  operational  safety,  and  sanitation 
ostensibly  enforced  by  the  Ministry  of  Civil  Service  and  the 
Ministry  of  Labor  and  Social  Law.   Labor  inspectors  do 
regularly  visit  industrial  sites,  and  violations  of  Labor  Code 
rules  are  subject  to  inspection  reports.   If  cited  violations 
are  not  remedied  within  a  specified  time  frame,  violators  may 
be  legally  charged  and  subject  to  penalties.   Nevertheless,  in 
several  sectors,  protective  measures  are  lacking  due  to  the 
expense  of  even  minimal  protective  clothing  and  other 
protective  devices.   To  date,  there  have  been  no  published 
reports  on  occupational  health  hazards,  although  there  is  clear 
evidence  that  they  exist . 

In  any  case,  for  1991  discussions  of  enforcement  of  the  Labor 
Code  were  theoretical.   Without  a  functioning  government  for 
much  of  the  year,  and  with  the  civil  servants'  strike,  the 
administrative  apparatus  was  effectively  out  of  operation. 



Malawi's  political,  economic,  and  social  development  has  been 
dominated  by  Life  President  Dr.  H.  Kamuzu  Banda  ever  since  he 
led  the  country  to  independence  in  1964.   Dr.  Banda  is  also 
life  president  of  Malawi's  sole  legal  party,  the  Malawi 
Congress  Party  (MCP) .   In  practice,  the  Cabinet  and  Parliament 
are  subordinate  to  the  MCP  Central  Committee.   Only  candidates 
selected  by  the  party  and  approved  by  the  President  may  contest 
parliamentary  elections.   Constitutional  amendments  and  laws 
passed  by  the  Parliament  mirror  decisions  already  taken  by 
President  Banda. 

Police  and  party  security  organs — notably  the  Security  and 
Intelligence  Service  (SIS),  the  MCP  Youth  League,  and  the 
Malawi  Young  Pioneers  (MYP) — closely  monitor  a  wide  range  of 
the  population's  activities.   The  police  continue  to  commit 
serious  human  rights  abuses.   In  contrast,  the  army  has 
eschewed  internal  politics. 

Small,  densely  populated,  and  landlocked,  Malawi  is  a 
predominantly  agricultural  economy  operating  under  a  relatively 
free  enterprise  environment.   Nearly  90  percent  of  the 
population  engages  in  subsistence  farming.   The  main  cash 
crops,  grown  mostly  on  estates,  are  tobacco,  tea,  coffee,  and 
sugar.   Since  independence,  and  with  good  management,  the 
economy  has  grown  steadily,  with  a  major  portion  of  that  growth 
in  the  agricultural  sector. 

Malawi's  poor  hxunan  rights  record  stands  in  sharp  contrast  to 
its  economic  achievements  and  humanitarian  handling  of  Africa's 
largest  refugee  population.   In  1991  the  Government  and  party 
kept  strict  control  on  all  aspects  of  political  life,  with 
continued  restrictions  on  speech,  press,  assembly,  association, 
and  the  right  of  citizens  to  change  their  government  through 
democratic  means.   Police  abuse  of  prisoners  and  detainees, 
including  women,  persisted.   The  Government  continued  also  to 
use  arbitrary  detention,  especially  under  the  Preservation  of 
Public  Safety  Act,  to  counter  alleged  opponents.   The 
Government  released  88  political  detainees  in  the  first  half  of 
1991,  including  Professor  Jack  Mpanje  and  several  other 
prominent  persons  long  held  without  charge  or  trial.   It  did 
not,  however,  release  Orton  and  Vera  Chirwa,  who  have  long  been 
the  focal  point  of  international  concerns  about  human  rights 
abuses  in  Malawi,  and  a  number  of  other  political  detainees  and 
prisoners,  estimated  at  year's  end  at  between  15  and  20. 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  political  killings  in  1991.   However,  Fred 
Kazombo  Mwale,  a  nephew  of  President  Banda  and  a  detainee  since 
June  1991,  is  believed  to  have  died  in  November  while  in 
custody.   Kazombo  suffered  from  high  blood  pressure, 
exacerbated  by  the  deleterious  conditions  of  Nsanje  Prison.   In 
the  case  of  Mkwapatira  Mhango,  a  leading  Malawian  dissident  who 
was  murdered  in  Zambia  in  October  1989  (along  with  eight 
members  of  his  family),  the  five  Malawians  detained  as  suspects 
by  Zambian  authorities  were  handed  over  to  Malawian  officials 
in  mid-1991.   They  were  reportedly  released  1  month  later. 




There  were  no  reported  cases  of  disappearance  for  political 
reasons  in  1991. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Allegations  of  institutionalized  torture  persist.   Beatings 
during  arrest  and  detention  are  illegal  but  common.   Guilty 
officers  are  rarely  disciplined.   Human  rights  organizations 
have  reported  that  some  criminal  prisoners  have  been  subjected 
to  "hard  core"  punishment  in  which  the  person  is  chained  naked 
to  the  floor  of  a  cell  and  denied  adequate  food  for  30  days. 

Prison  terms  and  conditions  are  harsh  and  frequently  degrading, 
particularly  in  Nyachikadza  (Nsanje)  prison  on  the  Shire  river 
marshes  in  southern  Malawi,  where  malaria  is  also  a  constant 
danger.   Women  appear  to  be  particularly  ill-treated,  including 
at  the  country's  main  prison  in  Zomba .   Reports  persist 
concerning  sexual  abuse  of  women  prisoners  by  their  warders. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Under  the  Preservation  of  Public  Security  Act,  the  Minister  of 
Justice  (a  position  held  by  President  Banda)  may  order  the 
arrest,  search,  and  detention  of  persons  considered  a  threat  to 
public  order.   Persons  arrested  under  this  law  may  be,  and 
usually  are,  detained  without  charge  or  trial.   The  President 
is  supposed  to  review  such  cases  every  6  months,  but  this 
constitutional  safeguard  has  had  no  noticeable  effect  on 
presidential  decisions. 

Police  officers  may  also  arrest  persons  on  their  own  authority 
for  up  to  28  days  before  a  formal  detention  order  is  issued. 
Historically,  persons  often  have  been  held  for  months  before 
being  served  detention  p'apers,  if  ever.   In  1990  improved 
police  performance  helped  to  ensure  that  most  new  detainees 
were  processed  properly  within  the  28-day  limit,  but  it  did  not 
prevent  the  Government  from  issuing  detention  orders  in  1991  to 
stifle  any  sign  of  dissent. 

During  the  first  half  of  1991,  the  President,  in  an  unexplained 
surprise  move,  released  88  political  detainees.   None  of  them 
was  even  given  an  official  explanation  as  to  why  they  had  been 
detained.   Those  released  comprise  more  than  80  percent  of  the 
number  of  known  political  detainees  and  included  several 
prominent  figures. 

Among  those  released  were  Professor  Jack  Mapanje,  former  head 
of  the  University  of  Malawi's  Department  of  Literature;  Dr. 
George  Mtafu,  Malawi's  only  neurosurgeon;  and  Margaret  Marango 
Banda,  a  prominent  Anglican  lay  leader.   Mapanje  and  Mtafu  were 
reinstated  professionally  but  immediately  went  abroad  to  teach 
and  study.   Others  released  without  explanation  included  Brown 
Mpinganjira,  Ishmael  Mazunda,  Blaise  Machila,  L.W.  Masiku,  and 
Ian  Mbale. 

Among  new  detentions  in  1991  were  the  two  daughters  of  Gwanda 
Chakuamba  Phiri,  a  former  minister  convicted  and  imprisoned  in 
1980  for  an  alleged  coup  plot.   They  were  held  for  2  months  for 
allegedly  helping  their  father  smuggle  out  of  prison 
correspondence  that  questioned  the  country's  leadership  and 
direction.   In  May  President  Banda  detained  his  nephew,  6 5 -year 
old  Fred  Kazombo  Mwale,  and  imprisoned  him  at  Nsanje  prison 



without  charge.   He  died  in  November.   Two  of  Kazombo ' s  wives 
were  also  detained,  albeit  in  prisons  with  better  conditions. 
Kazombo  reportedly  had  abused  his  position  as  de  facto 
patriarch  of  the  President's  family  to  seize  lands  from 
neighboring  smallholders. 

George  Chikuni,  former  Malawian  Ambassador  to  South  Africa,  was 
arrested  in  January  1990  for  fiscal  irregularities  while 
assigned  to  Pretoria.   Chikuni  was  convicted  of  a  misdemeanor 
in  1991,  and,  after  he  had  spent  a  year  in  jail,  a  magistrate 
gave  him  a  suspended  sentence.   The  police  refused  to  release 
him,  possibly  because  President  Banda  is  known  to  have 
personally  expressed  his  displeasure  over  Chikuni ' s  behavior. 

Government  secrecy  precludes  an  accurate  estimate  of  the  number 
of  political  detainees  and  prisoners  in  Malawi,  but  at  the  end 
of  1991  experienced  observers  put  the  number  at  between  15  and 
20,  including  Orton  and  Vera  Chirwa  (see  Section  I.e.).   Martin 
Machipisa  Munthali,  who  was  first  detained  in  1965,  remained  in 
prison  at  year's  end;  he  is  now  considered  Africa's  longest 
serving  political  detainee.   Aleke  Banda,  once  a  confidant  and 
likely  successor  to  President  Banda  (no  relation),  was  quietly 
released  from  Mikuyu  prison  in  late  1988  but  is  still 
restricted  to  house  arrest  on  the  Mpyupyu  prison  farm  near 
Zomba .   He  is  allowed  periodic  visits  from  family  members. 
Detained  in  1980,  Aleke  Banda  has  never  been  charged.   Dr.  Dany 
(Goodluck)  Mhango,  detained  in  1987  after  his  brother 
(Mkwapitira  Mhango,  murdered  in  Lusaka  in  1989)  published 
hostile  articles  outside  Malawi,  remained  in  Mikuyu  prison. 
Mary  Sikwese,  sister  of  Fred  Sikwese,  remains  in  detention 
after  she  complained  about  her  brother's  death  while  in  police 
custody  in  1989.   Frackson  Zgambo,  detained  with  Sikwese, 
allegedly  for  espionage,  also  remained  in  detention. 

Former  teachers'  association  official  Kalusa  Chimombo  has  been 
detained  since  1978.   Others  detained  include  Sylvester  Gondwe, 
,he  sales  manager  for  a  large  petroleum  distributor;  he  was 
detained  in  September  for  unknown  reasons,  subsequently 
dismissed  from  his  job,  and  then  released  in  December.   Abdul 
Juneja  Lemani ,  a  merchant  from  the  Mwanza  district,  was 
detained  in  November  after  allegedly  expressing  a  lack  of 
confidence  in  the  ability  of  the  police  to  protect  area 
residents  from  border-crossing  RENAMO  forces. 

While  forced  exile  has  not  been  used  as  a  means  of  political 
control,  there  is  a  small  but  constant  exodus  of  persons  who 
leave  for  political  reasons. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Malawi  has  both  traditional  and  European  court  systems.   Legal 
counsel  is  permitted  only  in  the  modern  courts.   The  right  of 
appeal  exists  in  both  systems.   Both  are  empowered  to  try 
capital  offenses,  including  treason,  but  in  practice  the  modern 
courts  hear  mostly  civil  cases.   Although  constitutionally 
mandated,  neither  judiciary  is  truly  independent.   Executive 
interference  in  the  modern  court  system  is  rare  in  civil  cases 
but  common  in  those  of  a  political  or  security  nature,  which 
usually  come  before  the  traditional  courts. 

The  European  court  system  consists  of  magistrate's  courts,  the 
High  Court,  and  the  Supreme  Court  of  Appeal.   The  President 
appoints  the  Chief  Justice  of  the  High  Court  and,  after 
consultation  with  the  judicial  service  commission,  other  court 
justices.   The  courts  are  open  to  the  public,  and  defendants 



are  charged  publicly.  Crowded  dockets,  however,  can  delay 
serious  cases  from  being  heard  for  up  to  4  years.   In  criminal 
cases,  the  defendant  waits  in  prison  during  the  interval. 

The  traditional  courts,  which  try  over  90  percent  of  all 
criminal  cases,  are  the  most  accessible  to  the  average 
Malawian.   Over  300  traditional  courts,  dispersed  among 
Malawi's  24  districts  and  3  regions,  hear  several  hundred 
thousand  civil  and  criminal  cases  each  year.   Traditional  court 
justices  are  appointed  directly  by  the  President,  including  to 
the  National  Traditional  Appeal  Court.   In  practice,  they  are 
drawn  from  the  ranks  of  MCP  officers  and  exercise  their  party 
responsibilities  concurrently.   Police  officials  handle  the 
prosecution,  and  defendants  conduct  their  own  defense. 

The  executive  branch  seldom  interferes  in  traditional  court 
cases  involving  customary  (tribal)  law  but  does  so  routinely  in 
political  and  security  cases.   The  traditional  courts  were 
designed  by  Orton  Chirwa  (the  first  Minister  of  Justice)  to 
handle  small  claims,  family,  and  customary  disputes  in  order  to 
accelerate  the  delivery  of  justice  to  Malawi's  largely  rural 
and  illiterate  population. 

Traditional  courts  were  not  empowered  to  try  treason  cases 
until  1977  when  President  Banda  sought  to  ensure  the  conviction 
and  subsec[uent  execution  of  a  secretary  general  of  the  Malawi 
Congress  Party  who  had  allegedly  plotted  his  overthrow. 
Similarly,  the  President  directed  that  Orton  and  Vera  Chirwa  be 
tried  by  the  traditional  court  in  1983  in  which  few,  if  any, 
procedural  safeguards  are  available.   Banda  subsequently 
commuted  the  Chirwas'  death  sentences  to  life  imprisonment. 
Despite  appeals  from  many  human  rights  organizations,  the 
Chirwas'  remained  in  prison  at  year's  end,  reportedly  in  poor 
health.   Orton  Chirwa  is  now  73  years  old. 

The  Forfeiture  Act  permits  the  Government  to  revoke  the 
property  rights  of  those  merely  suspected  of  economic  crimes, 
such  as  illegal  currency  transactions.   These  revocations 
sometimes  have  political  overtones  and  have  been  heavily 
weighted  against  the  Asian  community.   However,  the  Act  has  not 
been  invoked  in  recent  years,  and  in  1991  restitution  of 
certain  properties  seized  earlier  was  made. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Co  r  r  espondenc  e 

Police  may  enter  houses  of  suspects  at  will  under  special  entry 
authority  to  conduct  searches  for  incriminating  evidence  or 
suspects.   Telephones  are  routinely  tapped,  and  an  extensive 
network  of  informers  reports  private  statements  and  actions  to 
the  Government.   Authorities  regularly  open  domestic  and  ■ 
international  mail  and  sharply  increased  this  practice  in 
1991.   Malawi's  security  services  feared  the  effects  of 
accelerating  democratization  trends  in  neighboring  countries. 

Malawian  law  permits  the  Government  to  designate  certain 
districts  as  "special  areas"  where  citizens  may  be  stopped, 
questioned,  and  searched  on  the  street.   Most  special  area 
districts  are  in  the  north.   Although  this  has  been  an  unused 
statute  in  recent  years,  its  residual  effect  has  contributed  to 
the  north's  sense  of  disenf ranchisement . 


Membership  in  the  ruling  Malawi  Congress  Party  is  not  legally 
mandatory,  but  it  is  frequently  coerced,  and  membership  is 
expected  of  those  who  seek  access  to  government  services  or 



entrance  to  local  markets,  even  babies  carried  on  their 
mothers '  backs . 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including; 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Free  speech  and  press  are  severely  circumscribed  i  Malawi.   It 
is  an  offense,  punishable  by  5  years'  imprisonment,  to  publish 
anything  likely  "to  undermine  the  authority  of,  oc    public 
confidence  in,  the  Government."   It  is  punishable  by  life 
imprisonment  to  send  out  of  the  country  "false  information" 
which  may  be  "harmful  to  the  interests  or  good  name  of 
Malawi."   At  least  one  journalist  was  arrested  and  held  in  1991 
under  this  provision.   In  practice,  giving  critical  information 
to  foreign  journalists  can  result  in  detention  without  trial. 
Any  discussion  of  Malawi's  political  future  or  speculation 
about  the  President's  age  is  prohibited,  although  the  elderly 
President's  oft-predicted  passing  is  now  a  common  topic  of 
conversation.   A  few  years  ago,  speculation  about  the  eventual 
succession  would  have  guaranteed  detention. 

Malawi's  two  newspapers  and  government-owned  radio  exist 
primarily  to  catalog  the  President's  words  and  deeds. 
Nevertheless,  local  media  do  not  submit  material  to  the 
Government  beforehand  but  exercise  careful  self-censorship. 
Even  so,  journalists,  including  senior  editors,  have  been 
jailed  for  extended  periods  after  overstepping  undefined 
boundaries.   In  July  two  editors  of  the  daily  newspaper  were 
detained  by  police  for  between  4  hours  and  4  days  when  they 
published  an  editorial  that  implied  minor  police  corruption  in 
the  traffic  department.   In  the  same  month,  the  editor  of  a 
monthly  magazine  was  detained  overnight  when  he  published  a 
letter  from  the  dean  of  the  University  of  Malawi  law  school 
that  gave  a  legal  interpretation  of  the  country's  strict  dress 
code  that  was  contrary  to  the  interpretation  enforced  by  the 
Inspector  General  of  Police.   The  law  school  dean  was  also 
briefly  held. 

Criticism  of  various  government  departments'  efficiency  does 
appear  in  the  newspapers  and  often  in  parliamentary  debate. 
While  reporting  on  democratic  tendencies  in  Malawi  is  taboo, 
there  was  considerable  print  coverage,  but  no  radio  coverage, 
of  worldwide  democratic  developments  during  1991,  especially  in 
other  parts  of  Africa.   The  multiparty  movement  in  neighboring 
Zambia  received  surprisingly  impartial  coverage. 

The  newly  formed  Journalists'  Association  of  Malawi  was 
formally  registered  in  1991  and  held  a  1-week  media  workshop  to 
highlight  the  role  of  the  press.   The  Association  also 
remonstrated  with  the  Inspector  General  of  Police  when  its 
members  were  briefly  incarcerated,  a  confrontation  that  would 
have  been  inconceivable  in  Malawi  only  a  few  years  ago.   In 
July  the  June  issue  of  Africa  South  magazine  was  banned  in 
Malawi  because  it  contained  discussion  of  a  report  criticizing 
widespread  human  rights  violations. 

Foreign  journalists  must  request  permission  to  enter  Malawi  and 
must  specify  in  advance  the  topics  they  intend  to  cover.   They 
are  also  asked  to  specify  who  they  intend  to  interview.   The 
Government  continues  to  permit  some  Western  journalists  to 
visit  Malawi. 

Academic  freedom  is  limited  by  the  general  restrictions  on 
speech  and  press.   The  long  detentions  of  Professors  Mapanje 



and  Machila,  who  were  finally  released  in  1991,  remind 
university  professors  of  the  definite  bounds  to  academic 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Political  meetings  are  not  permitted  outside  the  framework  of 
the  Malawi  Congress  Party.   Persons  may  be  imprisoned  if  they 
further  the  aims  of  an  "unlawful  society,"  defined  as  "any 
group  considered  to  be  dangerous  to  the  good  government  of  the 
republic."  A  gathering  of  three  or  more  persons  may  be 
construed  as  an  unlawful  assembly  under  Malawian  law. 

Individuals  and  organizations  can  and  do  associate  freely 
concerning  nonpolitical  matters. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

There  is  no  state  or  preferred  religion,  and  religious  groups 
generally  may  establish  places  of  worship  and  train  clergy. 
However,  religious  groups  are  required  to  register  with  the 
Government,  and  an  informal  presidential  decree  that  no  new 
religious  groups  should  be  registered  in  Malawi  has  taken  on 
the  force  of  law.   The  ban  has  served  to  prevent  legitimate 
religious  groups,  such  as  the  Mormons,  from  establishing  a 
registered  presence  in  Malawi. 

Jehovah's  Witnesses,  whose  religious  convictions,  inter  alia, 
prevent  them  from  joining  the  MCP  or  any  other  political  party, 
have  been  banned  since  1967.   Relations  between  the  Government 
and  the  Witnesses  remain  tense  and  regularly  elicit  hostile 
outbursts  from  senior  officials.   Several  Jehovah's  Witnesses 
are  imprisoned  for  their  religious  beliefs.   In  October  some 
local  officials  publicly  criticized  Mozambican  refugees  who 
were  openly  proselytizing  for  the  Jehovah's  Witnesses  faith. 
Many  of  these  refugees,  it  turned  out,  were  originally 
Malawians  who  had  fled  Malawi's  persecution  of  the  Jehovah's 
Witnesses  during  the  1970's.   However,  credible  reports 
indicate  that  several  hundred  were  forcibly  repatriated  to 

Religious  publications,  like  others,  may  not  criticize  the 
Government  or  the  party.   Most  religious  groups  are  free  to 
establish  and  maintain  links  with  coreligionists  in  other 
countries,  and  members  are  free  to  travel  abroad. 
Malawi's  sizable  Muslim  minority  (estimated  at  20  percent  of 
the  population)  conducts  its  religion  and  builds  mosques 
freely.   Foreign  Islamic  organizations  have  funded  the  latter 
with  no  governmental  interference. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Legal  provisions  exist  for  testricting  movement  of  those 
convicted  of  political  or  criminal  offenses.   Denial  of 
passports  on  political  grounds  is  common.   Credible  evidence 
suggested  that  SIS  agents  followed  persons  suspected  of 
opposition  to  the  Government  out  of  Malawi  in  1991.   Civil 
servants  and  employees  of  state-owned  enterprises  must  obtain 
written  permission  to  travel  abroad,  even  on  vacation,  although 
such  clearance  now  appears  to  be  routine. 

Formal  emigration  is  neither  restricted  nor  encouraged. 
However,  Asian  residents  and  citizens,  while  free  to  travel 
within  the  country,  must  nominally  reside  and  work  in  one  of 



four  urban  areas  (Lilongwe,  Zomba,  Mzuzu,  and  Blantyre/Limbe) . 
In  Lilongwe,  a  planned  capital,  they  must  also  live  within 
certain  neighborhoods.   During  1991  the  Government  did  not 
strictly  enforce  those  restrictions. 

Malawi  hosts  the  largest  refugee  population  in  Africa.   Over 
900,000  Mozambicans — more  than  10  percent  of  Malawi's 
population — are  now  located  in  rural  areas  in  nearly  half  of 
Malawi's  24  districts.   Some  refugees  live  in  camps,  but  many 
live  within  or  adjacent  to  existing  villages.   In  both  cases, 
their  presence  has  increased  deforestation  and  put  pressure  on 
scarce  arable  land.   The  strain  on  Malawi's  economy,  as  well  as 
its  transportation  and  social  services  networks,  has  been 
severe.   More  recently,  security  from  cross-border  attacks  has 
become  a  greater  concern.   Public  discontent  at  the  burden  has 
been  rising  at  an  alarming  rate,  but  in  1991  President  Banda 
again  reaffirmed  Malawi's  commitment  to  offer  asylum  to  all  who 
are  forced  to  flee  Mozambique's  brutal  civil  war. 

There  were  credible  reports  that  hundreds  of  refugees  were 
forcibly  repatriated  because  they  were  members  of  the  Jehovah's 
Witnesses,  a  banned  religious  group.   Voluntary  repatriation 
has  been  very  limited.   The  Government  has  cooperated  with  the 
United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees  and  other 
international  relief  efforts. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  of  Malawi  cannot  change  their  national  government 
through  democratic  means.   Major,  and  many  minor,  political 
decisions  are  made  by  the  President  or  his  closest  associates. 
Opposition  political  parties  are  prohibited.   In  1991  there 
appeared  to  be  emerging  support  at  the  grassroots  level  for  a 
multiparty  movement,  as  some  persons  began  to  discuss  more 
openly  a  post-Banda  political  system. 

The  Malawi  Congress  Party  structure  provides  for  some  choice 
among  candidates  for  party  (every  3  years),  parliamentary 
(every  5  years),  and  other  offices — all  by  secret  ballot. 
Nominees  for  political  seats,  however,  are  carefully  selected 
by  the  MCP  and  approved  by  the  President.   The  National 
Assembly,  consisting  of  both  elected  and  a  few  appointed 
members,  is  mainly  concerned  with  ratifying  preordained 
policy.   Its  independence  and  powers  are  broadly  based  in  law 
but  highly  circumscribed  in  practice. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

Local  nongovernmental  human  rights  organizations  are  not 
permitted.   At  best,  human  rights  issues  can  be  touched  on 
tangentially  by  the  Malawi  Law  Society  which,  in  recent  years, 
has  been  able  to  debate  in  public  some  aspects  of  existing  law 
with  increasing  candor.   In  November  Justin  Malewezi,  the 
nation's  top  civil  servant  and  the  government  official  most 
closely  involved  with  human  rights  issues,  was  fired. 
Malewezi,  an  effective  force  for  constructive  change  in  Malawi, 
had  contributed  to  human  rights  reform,  though  his  dismissal 
seems  not  to  be  related  to  his  work  in  that  area.   The 
Government  does  not  permit  organizations  such  as  the 
International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross  and  Amnesty 
International  to  visit  prisons  or  conduct  human  rights 
invest  igat  ions . 



Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Membership  in  the  ruling  party,  the  MCP,  or  its  organs  is  not 
open  to  Malawians  of  Asian  or  European  descent.   In  addition 
there  are  regional  differences  between  the  north  and  the  rest 
of  Malawi.   Northerners  have  experienced  considerable 
discrimination  by  the  Government  in  the  past,  most  recently  in 
1989,  when  President  Banda  lent  his  weight  to  a  campaign  that 
resulted  in  many  northerners  losing  jobs  in  the  south  and  being 
forced  to  return  to  their  region  or  go  into  exile  abroad. 
Several  of  the  most  important  political  prisoners,  including 
Orton  and  Vera  Chirwa,  are  from  the  northern  region.   Since 
1990  the  Government  has  made  a  concerted  effort  to  downplay 
regionalism  as  a  domestic  issue.   Northerners  continued  to  hold 
important  positions  within  the  Government  and  Parliament,  but 
few  are  permitted  to  advance  to  high  positions  within  the 
police,  the  Government's  primary  instrument  to  enforce  internal 

Asian  residents,  whether  Malawian  citizens  or  not,  have  been 
compelled  to  transfer  ownership  of  rural  shops  and  trucking 
businesses  to  ethnic  Africans.   Strict  rules  govern  where 
Asians  may  own  property,  although  these  were  relaxed 
considerably  during  1991.   Malawi's  official  government 
hostess,  C.  Tamanda  Kadzamira,  has  recently  gone  to 
considerable  lengths  to  draw  Asian  women  into  her  new  National 
Women's  Development  Organization  (CCAM) .   Despite  these 
informal  changes,  many  persons  in  the  small  but  prosperous 
Asian  community  of  about  5,000  question  their  long-term  future 
in  Malawi . 

In  Malawi  women  are  ec[ual  under  the  law,  and  tribal  leadership 
structures  remain  primarily  matrilineal  in  the  central  and 
southern  regions  of  the  country.   However,  in  practice  women  do 
not  have  opportunities  equal  to  those  of  men.   Historically, 
most  women  have  been  unable  to  complete  even  a  primary 
education  and  are  at  a  serious  disadvantage  in  the  job  market. 
The  Government  presently  reserves  for  women  33  percent  of  the 
places  in  the  secondary  school  system,  although  the  actual 
number  of  attendees  is  less.   The  Government  has  also 
cooperated  closely  with  international  donors  seeking  to  enhance 
educational  opportunities  for  women  at  all  levels,  e.g.,  with  a 
U.S. -assisted  $20  million  program  designed  to  improve  the  basic 
education  of  girls. 

In  practice,  women  are  also  disadvantaged  under  the  law  through 
ignorance.   In  1991  the  National  Commission  of  Women  in 
Development,  working  with  the  CCAM  and  the  Malawi  Law  Society, 
held  a  well-publicized  workshop  and  began  work  on  the 
publication  and  distribution  of  a  bilingual  handbook  on  women's 
legal  rights. 

The  Government  is  also  slowly  giving  recognition  to  the 
importance  of  women  as  agricultural  producers,  as  approximately 
70  percent  of  all  smallholder  farms  and  over  50  percent  of 
subsistence  holdings  are  headed  by  women.   When  buying  and 
selling  "saleable"  property,  men  and  women  have  equal  rights. 
However,  with  "customary"  property  (land  in  transition), 
succession  in  the  northern  region  reverts  to  male  family 
members,  whereas  succession  in  the  southern  region  reverts  to 
female  family  members.   The  Ministry  of  Agriculture  now  has  a 
separate  women's  extension  program  specifically  designed  to 
accommodate  their  needs.   Women  enjoy  access  to  maternal  health 



services  and  to  extension  programs,  but  infant  and  child 
mortality  remain  extremely  high. 

Malawi  continues  to  maintain  a  strict  dress  code  for  women. 
Pants  and  shorts  are  not  permitted  in  public,  and  dress  length 
must  be  below  the  knees.   In  1991  the  police  began  a  strict 
enforcement  of  these  rules;  several  women  were  arrested  and 

Malawi  has  no  tradition  of  violence  against  women;  however,  a 
few  small  ethnic  groups  continue  to  practice  female 

Section  6  Worker  Rights: 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Only  nongovernment  workers  have  the  legal  right  to  form  and 
join  trade  unions.   Unions  represent  from  10  to  20  percent  of 
Malawi's  small  labor  force  in  the  money  economy;  most  organized 
wage  workers  are  unskilled  laborers  on  large  agricultural 
estates.   Unions  are  required  by  law  to  affiliate  with  the 
Trade  Union  Congress  of  Malawi  (TUCM) .   The  TUCM,  like  both  the 
Employers  Consultative  Group  and  the  Associated  Chambers  of 
Commerce,  is  a  private  organization  ostensibly  independent  of 
the  Malawi  Congress  Party,  but  in  practice  its  activities  are 
highly  circumscribed  by  the  Government.   Restrictive  colonial 
labor  legislation  has  been  subsumed  largely  intact  into 
Malawian  law. 

While  technically  legal,  strikes  are  not  tolerated  in  Malawi. 
Ministry  of  Labor  officers  are  quick  to  intervene  at  the  first 
hint  of  labor  unrest.   There  were  no  efforts  to  strike  in  1991. 

The  TUCM  associates  with  international  labor  organizations  and 
is  a  member  of  the  Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity 
and  the  Southern  African  Trade  Union  Coordination  Council  which 
is  headquartered  in  Lilongwe. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Workers  have  the  legal  ri^ht  to  organize,  but  the  law  does 
little  to  restrict  antiunion  discrimination  by  employers. 
Complaints  are  resolved  by  the  Ministry  of  Labor.   When 
employees  and  employers  cannot  reach  agreement  on  a  labor 
issue,  a  labor  officer  from  the  Ministry  of  Labor  meets  with 
the  two  sides  in  an  attempt  to  reach  a  consensus.   This  is 
usually  successful.   The  labor  officer  does  not  decide  the 
outcome  himself. 

Collective  bargaining  is  protected  by  law,  but  in  practice  its 
use  is  limited  by  stark  market  realities.   Skilled  workers  are 
in  demand  in  Malawi  and  have  enjoyed  relative  success  when 
negotiating  contracts.   However,  unskilled  workers  are  in 
oversupply,  and  this  holds  down  their  wages.   The  Government 
does  not  intervene  overtly  in  the  collective  bargaining  process. 

Management-labor  councils  (called  "work  committees")  mediate 
labor  issues  at  the  workplace.   There  are  standing  management- 
labor  councils  in  large  industries  and  businesses.   The 
composition  of  these  is  generally  half  labor  and  half 
management.   Grievances  of  all  kinds  can  be  handled  by  these 
committees  (including  wage  issues)  as  long  as  they  relate  to 
work  at  that  particular  place  of  employment.   When  wage 
negotiations  concern  an  entire  industry  nationwide,  then  the 



Government  involves  itself  in  the  discussions,  and  again  all 
parties  work  until  a  consensus  is  reached. 

There  are  no  export  processing  or  free  trade  zones  in  Malawi. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor,  which  was  widely  practiced  during  colonial  times, 
has  never  been  formally  outlawed,  but  it  is  opposed  by  the 
Government  and  is  not  practiced. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  working  age  is  14,  but  this  applies  only  to  the 
small  urban  wage  sector  where  it  can  be  enforced  by  labor 
inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of  Labor.   The  law  concerns  young 
workers  throughout  the  country,  but  it  is  less  easily  enforced 
in  rural  areas.   Overall,  enforcement  is  not  considered  to  be 
effective.   Also,  because  there  is  no  law  providing  compulsory 
education  for  children,  many  children  are  available  for  daily 
employment.   In  the  large  subsistence  agriculture  sector,  where 
most  Malawians  work,  children  help  on  family  farms  at  a  much 
younger  age.   Many  also  work  on  plantations,  where  they  are 
paid  substantially  less  than  the  legal  minimum  wage. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Less  than  15  percent  of  the  work  force  is  employed  in  the 
formal  wage  sector.   In  May  1989,  the  Minimum  Wage  and 
Conditions  of  Employment  Act  nearly  doubled  the  minimum  daily 
wages  in  Malawi's  three  cities,  but  perhaps  a  quarter  of  the 
work  force  receives  less  than  the  legal  minimum  wage  because  of 
poor  enforcement  and  because  many  workers  are  unaware  they  are 
entitled  to  a  minimum  wage.   The  legal  minimum  wage  is  not 
adequate  for  a  decent  living  and  is  often  supplemented  by 
additional  employment.   Minimum  wages  vary  from  urban  to  rural 
areas.   For  those  fortunate  enough  to  hold  paying  jobs,  wages 
and  working  conditions  are  generally  adequate  to  maintain 
slightly  better  than  a  subsistence  standard  of  living.   Many 
subsistence  farmers  supplement  their  earnings  by  working  as 
tenants  on  nearby  estates.   Labor  laws  address  normal 
employment  practices  but  do  not  cover  tenancy  agreements,  and 
abuses  are  widespread. 

The  maximum  workweek  in  Malawi  is  48  hours  or  less .   Workers 
have  Sundays  and  official  holidays  off  from  work  or  must  be 
paid  overtime.   Paid  holidays  and  safety  standards  in  the 
workplace  are  required  by  law.   However,  enforcement  of  safety 
standards  by  Ministry  of  Labor  inspectors  is  erratic. 



In  1991  the  23-year-old,  single-party  military  dictatorship  of 
President  Moussa  Traore  was  overthrown,  leading  to  the 
establishment  of  a  transitional  government  which  pledged  to 
establish  a  multiparty  democracy  with  free  elections  by  January 
1992.   The  transition  period  was  later  extended  to  March  26, 
1992.   On  March  26,  1991,  after  4  days  of  intense 
antigovernment  rioting,  a  group  of  17  military  officers 
arrested  President  Traore  and  suspended  the  constitution. 
Within  days,  these  officers  joined  with  the  Coordinating 
Committee  of  Democratic  Associations  to  form  a  predominantly 
civilian  25-member  ruling  body,  the  Transitional  Committee  for 
the  Salvation  of  the  People  (CTSP) .   The  CTSP  issued  a 
fundamental  code,  the  basic  governing  document  for  the 
transitional  period,  and  appointed  a  civilian  prime  minister 
and  transitional  government.   A  National  Conference  held  in 
August  produced  a  proposed  new  constitution,  political  parties 
charter,  and  electoral  code.   In  a  referendum  on  January  12, 
1992,  the  new  Constitution  was  approved.   Lt .  Colonel  Amadou 
Toumani  Toure  became  Head  of  State  during  the  transition  period. 

The  country  was  affected  by  rebellious  activity  in  the  north, 
which  varied  from  politically  motivated  rebels  seeking  an 
autonomous  Tuareg  state  to  simple  banditry.   Rebel  activity, 
which  started  in  mid-1990,  had  subsided  by  the  time  the 
previous  government  signed  accords  with  two  rebel  groups  in 
January  1991.   Dissident  rebel  elements  continued  sporadic 
attacks  in  the  early  part  of  the  year,  which  escalated  after 
the  change  of  government.   There  were  credible  reports  of 
civilians  killed  and  abducted  by  rebels,  of  extrajudicial 
killing  committed  by  the  military,  and  of  the  theft  by  rebels 
of  vehicles  belonging  to  private  voluntary  organizations 
involved  in  food  distribution.   The  transition  Government  made 
strenuous  efforts  to  find  a  political  solution  to  the  problem 
and  held  a  series  of  conferences  of  all  parties  in  late  1991, 
with  more  scheduled  for  early  1992. 

Mali's  armed  forces  number  some  7,000  and  are  under  the  control 
of  the  Minister  of  Defense.   The  gendarmerie  (paramilitary 
police)  and  local  police  forces  have  primary  responsibility  for 
maintaining  internal  security.   Military  forces  were  deployed 
throughout  the  northern  regions  of  the  country  to  deal  with 
insurgency  and  banditry.   The  military's  credibility  was 
profoundly  shaken  when  it  used  lethal  force  to  put  down  the 
antiregime  demonstrations  that  led  to  the  arrest  of  then 
president  Traore  on  March  26.   Subsequently,  the  CTSP  made 
strenuous  efforts  to  reestablish  discipline  among  the  troops 
and  to  prepare  officers  for  a  changed  role  for  the  military 
under  civilian  democracy,  but  problems  remained,  especially  in 
the  north. 

With  an  annual  per  capita  gross  national  product  of 
approximately  $290,  Mali  is  one  of  the  world's  poorest 
countries.   Mali's  economy  rests  primarily  on  subsistence 
farming  and  animal  husbandry,  making  it  highly  dependent  on 
good  rainfalls  for  its  economic  well-being.   The  transitional 
Government  continued  efforts  to  modernize  the  economy  through 
fiscal  reform  and  made  determined  efforts  to  end  government 
corruption.   Nonetheless,  Mali  remained  heavily  dependent  on 
external  aid.   Private  enterprise  was  encouraged  as  part  of 
economic  reform  and  liberalization  programs. 

Although  there'were  significant  violations  of  human  rights  in 
1991,  especially  those  associated  with  the  conflict  in  the 
north  and  the  end  of  the  Traore  regime,  the  change  in 



government  in  most  respects  improved  the  human  rights 
situation.   Political  rights  were  greatly  expanded,  and  freedom 
of  speech,  press,  assembly,  and  association  increased 
significantly.   The  new  Constitution  provides  broad  protection 
of  human  rights  and  civil  liberties.   Because  of  good  media 
coverage  of  the  events,  more  Malians  became  aware  of  their 
rights  and  were  less  afraid  to  file  complaints  when  these 
rights  were  violated.   At  the  end  of  the  year,  the  transition 
Government  had  taken  many  steps  toward  the  establishment  of  a 
multiparty  democracy  based  on  the  rule  of  law,  including 
scheduling  municipal,  legislative,  and  presidential  elections 
for  early  1992. 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  targeted  political  killings.   There 
were,  however,  numerous  instances  of  extrajudicial  killing  by 
security  forces  using  excessive  force  in  putting  down 
antiregime  demonstrations  in  Bamako  and  in  dealing  with  the 
rebellion  in  the  north  (see  Section  l.g.). 

b.  Disappearance 

Rebels  frequently  abducted  civiliams  during  raids  on  villages. 
Some  of  them  were  released,  others  are  known  to  be  held  by 
rebels,  but  the  whereabouts  of  still  others  are  unknown. 
Although  there  were  no  reported  incidents  of  abduction  or 
hostage-taking  attributcible  to  the  Government,  there  reportedly 
have  been  incidents  in  which  persons  detained  by  security 
forces  in  the  north  have  been  killed  (see  Section  l.g.). 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  new  Constitution  prohibits  torture  eind  inhuman,  cruel, 
degrading,  or  humiliating  treatment,  and  the  transitional 
Government  made  strides  toward  ending  the  physical  abuse  of 
suspected  persons  which  sometimes  occurred  during  police 
interrogation.   Widespread  publicity  given  to  issues  of  human 
rights  made  citizens  more  willing  to  complain,  which 
constrained  individual  police  officers  in  their  treatment  of 
arrestees.   The  transitional  Government  also  improved 
conditions  in  prisons,  rebuilding  the  Bamako  central  jail, 
improving  food  and  medical  services,  and  separating  hardened 
criminals  from  lesser  offenders.   In  addition,  it  authorized 
the  International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross  (ICRC)  to  conduct 
a  seminar  for  prison  officials  on  the  treatment  of  prisoners. 
Many  prisons  outside  the  capital,  however,  are  still  harsh  and 
are  characterized  by  inadequate  medical  facilities  and  food 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  Malian  judicial  system  is  based  on  the  French  model,  and 
the  fundamental  code  and  the  new  Constitution  expanded  the 
rights  of  arrested  individuals.   Persons  arrested  must  be 
charged  or  released  within  48  hours.   Malian  law  does  not 
provide  for  release  on  bail,  but  detainees  are  sometimes 
released  on  their  own  recognizance.   Administrative  backlogs 
often  cause  delays  in  bringing  people  to  trial.   The  new 



Constitution  gives  arrested  persons  the  right  to  have  a  lawyer 
of  their  choice  present  at  all  questioning;  even  before  the 
constitution  was  promulgated,  persons  began  to  demand  that  this 
right  be  accorded  them.   Lawyers  are  quite  active  in  making 
sure  detainees  have  representation;  many  provide  pro  bono 

A  number  of  Tuaregs  were  detained  by  military  authorities  in 
the  wake  of  rebel  and  bandit  attacks  in  the  northern  regions. 
By  November  all  those  detained  had  been  released,  except  for  22 
persons  who  were  transferred  to  Bamako  and  charged  with 
specific  crimes.   Those  Tuaregs  arrested  during  1990  were 
released  after  the  signing  of  the  Tamanrasset  Accords  in 
January  1991. 

At  the  time  of  the  overthrow  of  the  previous  regime,  the  former 
president,  his  family,  all  government  ministers  and  members  of 
the  party  executive  committee,  and  many  others  were  detained. 
Following  investigations  by  a  special  commission  of  the 
judicial  police,  the  investigating  judge  formally  charged  all 
former  officials  with  specific  violations  of  the  law  and 
initiated  detailed  investigations  of  the  cases,  as  required, 
prior  to  trial.   Two  of  the  "former"  president's  children 
continue  to  be  detained  without  charge.   Two  other  children  and 
one  grandchild  are  being  held  in  protective  custody. 

Detention  of  political  demonstrators,  which  was  sometimes 
practiced  by  the  previous  regime,  was  discontinued  under  the 
transitional  Government.   Many  Malians  who  were  in  exile  under 
the  previous  regime  returned  to  live  in  their  country  in  1991. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  transitional  Government  basically  retained  the  existing 
court  structure,  with  two  notable  changes:   it  declared  the 
judiciary  independent  of  the  legislative  and  executive  power, 
and  it  abolished  the  special  court  of  state  security,  which 
operated  outside  the  regular  judicial  system. 

The  Fundamental  Code  and  the  new  Constitution  provide  for  the 
independence  of  the  judiciary.    However,  the  Ministry  of 
Justice  appoints  judges  and  supervises  both  law  enforcement  and 
judicial  functions.   The  Superior  Judicial  Council,  which 
supervises  judicial  activity,  is  headed  by  the  President  of  the 
Republic.   The  Supreme  Court  has  both  judicial  and 
administrative  powers.   Under  the  Constitution,  there  will  be  a 
separate  constitutional  court  and  a  high  court  of  justice,  with 
the  power  to  try  senior  government  officials  in  cases  of 

Except  in  the  case  of  minors,  trials  are  public  and  defendants 
have  the  right  to  be  present  and  to  have  an  attorney  of  their 
choice.   Defendants  are  presumed  innocent  and  have  the  right  to 
appeal  decisions  to  the  Supreme  Court.   Many  members  of  the 
former  government,  including  the  former  president  and  his  wife, 
were  charged  by  the  regular  criminal  court  with  corruption  and 
embezzlement;  others  have  been  formally  charged  with  violations 
of  law  in  connection  with  the  shooting  of  demonstrators  during 
the  riots  in  January  and  March.   The  Government  pledged  to  try 
these  persons  in  accordance  with  the  law  and  prevented  efforts 
by  some  groups  to  use  the  National  Conference  as  a  popular 
tribunal.   No  trials  had  begun  by  the  end  of  the  year.   All 
members  of  the  former  government  reportedly  had  access  to 



Another  concern  was  a  wave  of  vigilante  justice  which  erupted 
after  the  overthrow  of  the  previous  regime,  but  it  declined  by 
the  end  of  1991.   In  the  wake  of  massive  jailbreaks  and  overall 
lack  of  confidence  in  the  security  system,  mobs  in  Bamako  and 
other  towns  on  more  than  15  occasions  captured  and  killed 
suspected  thieves.   However,  special  police  units  in  several 
cases  rescued  threatened  individuals  and  treated  them  in 
accordance  with  the  law. 

f .  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence . 

Inviolability  of  the  home  is  provided  for  in  both  the  old  and 
new  Constitutions  and  generally  is  respected  in  practice. 
Police  searches  are  infrequent,  and  warrants  are  issued  by  a 
judge  and  recorded,  though  sometimes  after  the  fact.   Local 
authorities  sometimes  seize  and  open  mail  extralegally . 

g.  Use  of  Excessive  Force  and  Violations  of  Humanitarian 
Law  in  Internal  Conflicts 

In  March,  during  4  days  of  rioting  and  demonstrations  which 
preceded  the  overthrow  of  the  previous  regime,  security  forces 
in  Bamako  and  several  other  cities  opened  fire  on 
demonstrators,  killing  216  and  wounding  717.   Some  of  the 
killings  occurred  while  demonstrators  were  looting  and  burning 
government  buildings;  many  others  occurred  as  security  forces 
attempted  to  stop  peaceful  demonstrations.   In  addition,  there 
are  credible  reports  that  65  persons  died  when  security  forces 
set  fire  to  a  building  into  which  demonstrators  had  fled.   The 
transitional  Government  arrested  and  charged  a  number  of  senior 
military  officials  who  were  believed  responsible  for  issuing 
live  cimmunition  to  the  troops. 

The  Tuareg  rebellion  in  the  north  resulted  in  the  deaths  of 
many  civilians,  rebels,  and  Malian  military  and  government 
officials.   The  number  of  dead  in  the  conflict  is  uncertain, 
but  at  least  39  civilians  were  killed  by  Tuaregs  in  at  least  29 
attacks.   In  one  case,  the  Government  reports  a  woman  was 
killed  by  rebels  after  she  refused  to  accompany  them  back  to 
their  camp. 

The  military's  response  to  these  attacks  included  reprisals 
against  unarmed  Tuaregs  and  Maurs.   On  November  14,  soldiers 
summarily  executed  10  Tuareg  civilians  near  Menaka  in  reprisal 
for  the  killing  of  military  dependents  earlier  that  day, 
according  to  credible  reports.   In  Timbuktu  on  December  12, 
soldiers  murdered  leading  Tuareg  notable  and  government 
supporter  Mohamadoum  Ag  Hamani  and  eight  members  of  his 
household  following  an  attack,  possibly  by  a  Tuareg  faction,  on 
the  Governor's  residence.   There  were  confirmed  reports  that, 
on  May  21,  a  group  of  soldiers  summarily  executed  34  nomads  in 
Lere,  and  credible  reports  that  in  July  they  executed  15  more 
near  Tonka.   The  President  repudiated  such  behavior,  and  the 
Government  reportedly  transferred  and  disciplined  the  soldiers 
involved,  but  no  one  was  arrested  or  tried,  largely  out  of 
concern  over  possible  military  discontent  should  the  officers 
be  publicly  humiliated. 

Aside  from  those  who  died  or  were  wounded  in  rebel  attacks  and 
army  reprisals,  many  nomads  lost  cattle  herds,  and  commercial 
enterprises  were  destroyed.   Rebels  stole  vehicles  from  private 
voluntary  organizations,  making  food  distribution  in  the  region 
extremely  difficult.   The  number  of  deaths  in  the  conflict  is 
difficult  to  estimate.   Credible  reports  put  total  civilian 



Tuareg  deaths  at  the  hands  of  the  military  at  around  70.   It  is 
likely  that  the  Malian  military  and  the  various  rebel  and 
bandit  groups  lost  as  many  as  150  people  each. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

With  the  installation  of  the  transitional  Government  in  March, 
Malians  enjoy  virtually  complete  freedom  of  speech  and  press. 
Both  the  Fundamental  Code  and  the  new  Constitution  contain 
strong  affirmations  of  these  freedoms.   At  the  National 
Conference,  citizens  from  all  segments  of  society  voiced 
opinions,  including  often  strong  complaints,  about  government 
policy  and  leaders  and  direct  criticism  of  the  President  of  the 
Transitional  Council,  which  were  broadcast  live  on  the 
state-owned  radio  system. 

There  are  some  15  independent  newspapers  and  journals.   The 
government-owned  newspaper  and  radio  and  television  system  are 
open  and  give  space  to  a  wide  range  of  views.   In  September  the 
transitional  Government  announced  that  it  would  allow  the 
creation  of  private  radio  and  television  stations,  and  a 
subcommission  was  established  under  the  Minister  of 
Communications  to  prepare  regulations  for  private 
broadcasting.   By  the  end  of  the  year,  two  private  radio 
stations  were  operating  in  Bamako. 

Political  meetings  take  place  openly  and  without  interference. 
The  political  pressures  which  previously  inhibited  academic 
freedom  have  all  but  disappeared. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

One  of  the  first  acts  of  the  CTSP  was  to  allow  the  free 
formation  of  political  parties  and  other  associations.   The 
Constitution  affirms  this  right.   Some  46  political  parties  and 
at  least  as  many  professional  and  special  interest  associations 
were  formed  and  operated  freely.   While  no  parties  have 
established  formal  ties  with  those  in  other  countries,  there 
are  no  restrictions  on  their  doing  so.   Permits  must  be 
obtained  for  mass  demonstrations,  but  these  are  now  routinely 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Mali's  status  as  a  secular  state  is  reconfirmed  in  the  new 
Constitution.   The  Government  generally  does  not  discriminate 
on  religious  grounds.   Although  90  percent  of  Malians  are 
Muslim,  members  of  other  religions  practice  their  faiths  freely 
and  are  permitted  to  establish  houses  of  worship  and  schools. 
Christian  missionaries  of  various  faiths,  including  foreign 
missionaries,  operate  freely.   Proselytizing  and  conversion  are 
permitted,  except  in  the  case  of  the  Baha ' i .   The  Government 
prohibits  publications  in  which  one  religious  group  defames 
another;  the  Minister  of  Territorial  Administration  determines 
whether  such  a  publication  is  defamatory.   This  law  is  rarely 
app 1 i  ed ,  howeve  r . 

While  administrative  orders  promulgated  in  1977  prohibiting 
Baha'i  from  meeting  in  groups  of  more  than  three  people  remain 
in  force,  these  orders  are  not  enforced,  and  Baha'i  practice 
their  faith  without  interference. 



d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Freedom  of  movement  in  Mali  is  generally  unimpeded,  although 
police  checks  occur  in  which  Malians  and  foreigners  alike  are 
stopped,  particularly  at  night.   These  checks  are  used 
ostensibly  to  restrict  the  movement  of  contraband  goods  and  to 
check  vehicle  registrations.   In  practice,  some  police 
supplement  their  salaries  by  assessing  ad  hoc  fines  or 
confiscating  goods.   As  part  of  its  ant i corrupt ion  campaign, 
the  Government  attempted  to  end  these  abuses.   An  exit  visa  is 
no  longer  required. 

In  recent  years,  Mali  has  both  accepted  and  generated 
refugees.   Some  13,000  Mauritanian  Peuhl  refugees  who  fled 
strife  in  their  country  in  1989  settled  in  Mali  and  were 
generally  absorbed  into  the  local  economy.   Some  140  Liber ian 
refugees  who  fled  to  Mali  in  1990  were  relocated  to  Cote 
D'lvoire  in  1991  under  a  program  of  the  United  Nations  High 
Commissioner  for  Refugees.   In  1991  the  insecurity  in  Mali's 
northern  regions  led  some  18,000  Malian  Maurs  and  Tuaregs  to 
flee  to  Mauritania  and  thousands  to  flee  to  Algeria,  perhaps 
35,000,  according  to  Malian  government  estimates.   Several 
thousand  Tuaregs  who  had  fled  drought  conditions  in  1984-85  and 
had  begun  to  be  repatriated  to  Mali  in  1990  returned  to  Algeria 
as  refugees . 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Cheuige  Their  Government 

During  23  years  of  single-party  military  rule,  Malians  were 
unable  to  change  their  government  through  peaceful  means . 
However,  the  Transitional  Committee  for  the  People's  Salvation 
(CTSP),  which  assumed  power  in  March,  laid  the  groundwork  for 
multiparty  democracy  in  which  citizens  will  be  able  to  elect 
their  government  and  change  it  through  peaceful  means . 

The  CTSP  is  made  up  of  15  civilians  representing  organizations 
which  led  the  prodemocracy  movement  (including  the  national 
labor  union)  and  10  military  officers,  led  by  Lt .  Colones 
Amadou  Toumani  Toure,  who  is  Head  of  State  for  the  transition 
period.   Upon  assuming  power,  the  CTSP  appointed  a  transition 
Government  comprising  mainly  technocrats  charged  with 
day-to-day  operations  of  the  Government  and  with  conducting 
elections  planned  for  early  1992.   The  CTSP  almost  immediately 
allowed  the  formation  of  political  parties,  with  the  only 
restriction  being  a  prohibition  against  parties  based  on 
religion,  ethnic  group,  region,  or  gender.   By  September  there 
were  some  46  registered  political  parties. 

In  August  a  widely  representative  national  conference  adopted  a 
proposed  new  constitution,  a  political  parties  charter,  and  an 
electoral  code,  which  will  be  the  basic  documents  of  the  new 
political  system.   The  new  Constitution,  which  contains  broad 
provisions  on  civil  rights  and  liberties,  was  adopted  in  a 
referendum  on  January  12,  1992.    It  provides  for  direct 
election  of  the  President  for  a  term  of  5  years  (with  a  limit 
of  two  terms),  direct  election  at  the  district  level  of  members 
of  the  National  Assembly,  a  separation  of  executive, 
legislative,  and  judicial  powers,  and  control  of  the  military 
by  the  President.   Members  of  the  CTSP  and  military  officers 
who  wished  to  stand  for  office  were  rec[uired  to  resign  their 
posts  by  the  end  of  August.   Members  of  the  transitional 
Government  were  excluded  from  running  for  office  in  these 
elections.   The  Government  immediately  began  preparations  for 



the  elections,  and  political  parties  started  operations 
throughout  the  country.   The  test  of  the  system  will  come  in 
the  elections  and  completion  of  transfer  of  power  from  the  CTSP 
to  the  newly  elected  president,  including  the  return  of  the 
military  to  their  barracks,  now  scheduled  for  March  26,  1992. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  independent  Malian  Association  for  Human  Rights  (AMDH), 
established  in  1989,  was  prominent  in  the  prodemocracy  movement 
and  active  in  the  drawing  up  of  the  new  Constitution.   Two  of 
its  members  sit  on  the  CTSP.   AMDH  lawyers  represent  individual 
cases  of  human  rights  violations  before  courts  and  work  to 
inform  people  of  their  rights.   There  was  some  concern  that  the 
AMDH's  representation  on  the  CTSP  and  the  involvement  of  its 
president  in  a  political  party  would  jeopardize  its 
independence.   The  Fundamental  Code  and  the  new  Constitution 
make  reference  to  the  universal  declaration  of  human  rights. 

The  transitional  Government  addressed  some  human  rights 
questions  much  more  forthrightly  than  did  the  previous 
government  and  has  been  much  more  open  with  international 
organizations  concerned  with  human  rights  questions.   It 
replied  publicly  to  Amnesty  International's  letters  regarding 
the  military's  killing  of  Tuaregs  in  Lere  and  Tonka  in  May  and 
July.   It  has  invited  the  ICRC  to  observe  the  situation  in  the 
north  and  published  information  about  the  ICRC's  activities. 
ICRC  representatives  are  stationed  in  two  northern  towns  and 
are  permitted  to  travel  widely.   They  have  visited  persons 
abducted  by  rebels  and  toured  all  civilian  and  military 
detention  facilities  in  the  north.   The  Government  also  allowed 
the  ICRC  and  the  local  human  rights  association  access  to 
members  of  the  former  government  who  were  under  arrest  or  being 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Virtually  all  of  Mali's  ethnic  and  language  groups  are 
represented  at  all  levels  of  government  and  society,  and  suffer 
little  discrimination.   The  nomad  populations  are  not 
completely  integrated  into  the  economic  and  political 
mainstream,  however,  and  they  resent  being  politically 
dominated  by  other,  more  numerous  ethnic  groups.   In  April  and 
May,  Tuareg  and  Maur  nomadic  groups  became  the  target  of  ethnic 
rioting  in  Gao  and  Timbuktu  in  reprisal  for  attacks  by  rebels 
on  the  local  population.   While  there  was  evidence  of 
complicity  of  some  elements  of  the  security  forces,  there  were 
also  eyewitness  accounts  of  police  rescuing  potential  victims. 
The  Government  attempted  thereafter  to  try  to  reduce 
interethnic  strife  as  part  of  its  overall  efforts  to  restore 
security  in  the  north.   At  the  end  of  1991,  tension  and  racial 
polarization  remained  high  throughout  the  north. 

Although  the  new  Constitution  reaffirms  that  there  shall  not  be 
discrimination,  social  and  cultural  factors  place  men  in  the 
dominant  position  in  Mali.   There  are  a  number  of  women  in  the 
professions  and  in  important  posts  in  government — three  members 
of  the  transitional  Government  are  women — but  economic  and 
educational  opportunities  for  women  are  limited.   Women  live 
under  harsh  conditions,  especially  in  the  rural  areas. 
According  to  a  1991  United  Nations  report,  females  in  Mali 
receive  only  29  percent  of  the  schooling  of  males. 



Traditional  practice  and  existing  Kalian  laws  place  women  at  a 
disadvantage  with  regard  to  family  and  property  rights. 
However,  many  newly  formed  women's  organizations  began  actively 
seeking  the  improvement  of  women's  rights,  and  many  questions 
were  addressed  at  the  national  conference,  with  the  goal  of 
improving  the  condition  of  women. 

Violence  against  women,  including  wife  beating,  is  accepted  in 
Malian  society,  though  there  are  no  statistics  to  indicate  how 
widespread  it  may  be.   The  society  generally  does  not  tolerate 
spousal  abuse  resulting  in  physical  injury  and  deals  with  the 
problem  informally  at  the  village  level;  for  example,  a  village 
chief  may  intervene  to  stop  the  abuse  and  punish  the 
perpetrator.   Legal  action  for  redress  of  injury  is  not 
normally  available,  although  severe  physical  injury  is  grounds 
for  divorce.   The  issue  of  spousal  abuse  was  not  addressed  by 
the  transitional  Government.   Many  of  the  new  women's 
organizations  and  some  independent  journals  campaign  against 
female  circumcision,  which  is  still  a  widely  accepted  practice 
in  Mali.   The  transition  Government  continued  radio  and 
television  broadcasts  intended  to  discourage  female 
circumcision  but  did  not  pass  legislation  prohibiting  the 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

The  new  Constitution  specifically  provides  for  the  freedom  of 
workers  to  form  or  join  unions  and,  unlike  the  old 
constitution,  does  not  limit  them  to  the  National  Union  of 
Malian  Workers  (UNTM) .   While  most  unions  are  still  part  of  the 
UNTM,  higher  education  teachers  left  the  teachers'  branch  of 
the  UNTM  and  created  an  independent  union  which  has  been 
officially  recognized  by  the  Ministry  of  Education.   The  UNTM 
was  a  leading  force  in  the  movement  that  led  to  the  overthrow 
of  the  previous  regime.   Three  of  its  members,  including  its 
President,  now  sit  on  the  ruling  Transitional  Committee  for  the 
People's  Salvation  (CTSP),  though  the  UNTM  has  maintained  its 
independence  from  the  Government . 

The  new  Constitution  provides  for  the  right  to  strike.   After 
the  fall  of  the  previous  government,  there  were  several 
strikes,  some  for  higher  wages,  some  for  improved  working 
conditions,  and  some  to  demand  different  managers  in  state 
enterprises.   These  strikes  were  generally  resolved  by 
negotiations  between  the  labor  unions,  the  new  Government,  and 
the  economic  entity  involved.   While  strikes  were  rarely 
allowed  under  the  previous  regime,  the  UNTM  held  a  2-day 
general  strike  in  January  to  demand  higher  wages  and  called  a 
general  strike  in  March  to  demand  the  resignation  of  former 
President  Traore. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  change  in  government  reduced  some  of  the  constraints  on 
workers'  rights  to  organize  and  bargain  collectively,  notably 
by  ending  the  UNTM's  legal  status  as  the  sole  union.   Wages  and 
salaries  for  those  workers  belonging  to  UNTM  unions  are  still 
set  by  tripartite  negotiations  between  the  Ministry  of  Labor, 
the  labor  unions,  euid  representatives  of  the  federation  of 
employers  of  the  sector  for  which  the  wages  are  being  set . 
Workers  in  some  industries  also  created  associations  which 
started  to  function  like  unions  to  make  demands  and  operate 
outside  of  the  tripartite  system.   The  new  Constitution  does 



not  address  the  question  of  antiunion  discrimination.   No 
export  processing  zones  exist  in  Mali. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

The  new  Constitution  prohibits  forced  or  compulsory  labor. 
Although  not  sanctioned  or  upheld  by  law,  debt  slavery 
reportedly  exists  in  the  salt  mining  communities  north  of 
Timbuktu.   Since  the  change  of  government  in  March,  however, 
many  of  those  treated  as  slaves  have  refused  to  continue 
working  under  those  conditions. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  age  for  employment  is  14,  but  with  parents' 
permission  children  may  be  apprenticed  at  age  12.   In  practice, 
many  employers  ignore  this  regulation.   In  addition,  children 
in  rural  areas  and  in  the  informal  sector  are  not  protected  by 
laws  against  unjust  compensation,  excessive  hours,  and 
capricious  discharge.   The  labor  inspection  service  of  the 
Ministry  of  Labor  is  responsible  for  enforcement  of  child  labor 
laws.   The  law  is  reasonably  effective  in  the  modern  sector  but 
has  no  effect  on  the  vast  number  of  children  who  work  in  the 
informal  sector . 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Mali  has  a  detailed  Labor  Code  specifying  conditions  of 
employment,  including  hours,  wages,  and  social  security 
benefits.   The  legal  workweek  is  40  hours,  with  a  requirement 
for  at  least  one  24-hour  rest  period.   Workers  must  be  paid 
overtime  for  additional  hours.   There  are  legal  minimum  wage 
scales,  most  recently  adjusted  in  1991,  which  are  supplemented 
by  a  required  package  of  benefits,  including  social  security 
and  health  care  benefits.   While  this  could  provide  a  minimum 
standard  of  living  if  it  went  to  support  only  one  person,  most 
wage  earners  support  extended  families.   In  addition,  most 
people  work  in  the  informal  sector,  outside  the  realm  of  these 
rules  and  conventions.   The  Social  Security  Code  provides  a 
broad  range  of  legal  protection  against  hazards  in  the 
workplace,  and  workers'  groups  have  put  pressure  on  employers 
to  respect  parts  of  the  regulations,  particularly  those 
affecting  personal  hygiene.   With  unemployment  high,  however, 
workers  are  sometimes  reluctant  to  report  violations  of 
occupational  safety.   While  in  theory  the  labor  inspection 
service  of  the  Ministry  of  Labor  oversees  these  standards, 
there  is  limited  enforcement  due  to  the  lack  of  inspectors. 



The  Islamic  Republic  of  Mauritania  has  been  governed  since  1984 
by  the  Military  Committee  for  National  Salvation  (CMSN)  under 
the  chairmanship  of  Colonel  Maaouya  Ould  Sid 'Ahmed  Taya,  who  is 
also  Chief  of  State.   The  Military  Committee  functions 
nominally  as  a  legislative  body  under  the  direction  of 
President  Taya,  while  the  President,  assisted  by  his  Council  of 
Ministers  and  a  few  close  advisors,  wields  executive  power. 

In  the  latter  half  of  1991,  the  Government,  in  response  to 
mounting  public  criticism  and  international  isolation,  took 
steps  to  encourage  the  development  of  multiparty  democracy  in 
Mauritania.   In  July  a  new  Constitution  was  adopted  by 
referendum,  and  subsequently  ordinances  were  promulgated 
permitting  political  parties,  establishing  freedom  of  the 
press,  and  granting  amnesty  to  all  political  prisoners.   The 
President  announced  that  legislative  and  presidential  elections 
would  be  held  before  April  1992  and  promulgated  new  electoral 
laws.   Several  newly  formed  opposition  parties  intend  to 
contest  the  elections  while  challenging  the  fairness  of  the 
electoral  procedures  announced  to  date . 

Mauritanian  security  forces  number  between  16,000  and  18,000 
and  include  the  regular  armed  forces,  the  National  Guard,  the 
Gendarmerie  (a  specialized  corps  of  paramilitary  police),  and 
the  police.   The  Gendarmerie  is  directed  by  the  Ministry  of 
Defense,  while  the  National  Guard  and  police  come  under  the 
Ministry  of  Interior.   As  in  previous  years,  the  security 
forces  continued  to  be  responsible  for  widespread  human  rights 
violations.   The  significant  difference  in  1991  was  that,  for 
the  first  time,  abuses  perpetrated  by  the  security  forces  were 
directed  in  the  main  at  a  purge  of  their  own  ranks. 

Most  of  Mauritania's  1.9  million  inhabitants,  either  nomadic 
herders  or  settled  farmers,  live  within  a  subsistence  economy. 
Mauritania  is  burdened  with  numerous  long-term  economic  and 
social  problems:   drought,  desertification,  insect  infestation, 
extensive  unemployment,  rapid  inflation,  one  of  the  highest  per 
capita  foreign  debts  in  Africa,  minimal  infrastructure, 
inadecjuate  health  and  education  systems,  and  growing 
urbanization.   Low  rainfall  levels  over  the  past  years  have 
forced  large  numbers  of  nomads  into  towns,  with  a  consequent 
weakening  of  traditional  Maur  nomadic  culture  and  a  severe 
strain  on  government  resources. 

Although  the  military  leadership  has  tried  carefully  to 
maintain  control,  the  reform  process  shows  some  promise  of 
enabling  Mauritanians  to  deal  with  their  economic  problems  and 
ethnic  tensions  in  the  future  within  the  framework  of  a  more 
open  political  system.   Meanwhile,  the  actual  human  rights 
situation  in  Mauritania  did  not  improve  in  1991.   In  fact,  the 
arbitrary  arrest,  detention,  and  torture  by  the  armed  forces  of 
up  to  3,000  persons  represented  a  serious  human  rights 
regression.   Those  arrested  (almost  exclusively  from  the  black 
Mauritanian  Halpulaar  ethnic  groups)  were  accused  of  plotting 
to  overthrow  the  Government,  but  none  of  them  was  ever  charged 
with  any  crime.   There  is  credible  evidence  that  many,  if  not 
all,  of  the  detainees  were  subjected  to  harsh  interrogation 
technicpies  and  brutal  torture,  in  some  cases  over  a  period  of  7 
months,  in  order  to  extract  self-incriminating  confessions. 
Although  the  Government  announced  that  all  detainees  were 
released  by  mid-April  1991,  approximately  500  remain 
unaccounted  for  and  are  presumed  dead.   Of  those  who  survived 
the  detention  and  torture,  very  few  have  been  reintegrated  into 
the  military  (or,  in  the  case  of  civilians,  into  their  former 



jobs).   On  the  other  hand,  the  niimber  of  human  rights  abuses  in 
the  riverine  area  bordering  Senegal  decreased  markedly  since 
late  1990  as  a  result  of  a  gradually  improving  political 
atmosphere  between  the  two  Governments . 

Some  restrictions  on  freedom  of  the  press  were  eased.   The 
right  to  a  fair  public  trial,  the  right  of  citizens  to  change 
their  government,  and  worker  rights  remained  restricted. 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  continued  to  be  a  number  of  extrajudicial  killings  of 
persons,  particularly  non-Arabic  (Hassaniya)-speaking  black 
Mauritanians .   Whereas  most  of  the  riverine  violence  in  1989 
and  1990  ■■stemmed  from  mass  expulsions  and  suppression  of 
resulting  cross-border  raiding,  the  nature  of  violence  changed 
substantially  in  1991.   Most  disputes  in  the  riverine  area  in 
1991  arose  from  arguments  over  land  and  property,  including 
cases  of  Mauritanian  expellees  who  returned  home  to  find  their 
belongings  had  been  expropriated. 

Also  in  1991,  security  forces  continued  their  occasional 
practice  of  arbitrarily  killing  non-Hassaniya-speaking  blacks, 
who  make  up  the  majority  of  the  population  living  along  the 
Senegal  river.   For  example,  in  September  Mamadou  Amadou  Watt 
was  shot  to  death  in  his  own  home,  reportedly  by  a  national 
guardsman.   The  victim  and  the  perpetrator  reportedly  had 
earlier  disagreed  over  a  bribe  that  the  victim  had  refused  to 
pay.   No  one  has  yet  been  charged  or  arrested  in  this  incident, 
which  took  place  in  the  town  of  Olologo  in  the  Brakna  region. 
Although  the  frecjuency  of  these  types  of  killings  substantially 
diminished  in  1991,  they  continued  to  occur.   As  in  previous 
years,  there  were  no  reports  of  government  inquiries  into  the 
incidents  or  any  efforts  to  punish  those  responsible. 

The  principal  example  of  extrajudicial  killing  was  the  presumed 
deaths  of  approximately  500  largely  Halpulaar  and  Soninke 
military  and  civilian  personnel  alleged  to  have  attempted  to 
overthrow  the  Government.   These  persons  were  part  of  a  larger 
group — possibly  as  many  as  3,000 — who  were  rounded  up, 
detained,  and  tortured  in  prison  (see  Section  I.e.).   To  date 
the  Taya  Government  has  not  provided  credible  evidence  of  such 
a  plot,  and  critics  claim  the  Government  used  this  charge  to 
mask  a  purge  of  blacks  from  the  military  and  civil  service. 
The  results  of  an  internal  military  investigation  have  not  been 
made  public,  and  no  one  has  been  charged  with  or  faced  trial 
for  the  tortures  and  deaths.   It  appears  that  the  highest 
levels  of  the  military  hierarchy — including  several  members  of 
the  ruling  CMSN--were  involved  and  may  personally  have  taken 
part  in  torture  or  execution.   Although  two  CMSN  members  were 
placed  on  probation  and  removed  from  their  commands  for  6 
months,  presumably  for  their  role  in  the  events,  they  have  now 
been  reintegrated,  promoted  to  full  colonels,  and  given  new 
responsibilities.   Two  other  high-ranking  officials  said  to  be 
implicated  also  received  promotions  during  the  year. 
Furthermore,  some  of  the  officials  named  to  the  investigative 
board  may  themselves  have  been  involved  in  the  incidents. 
A  local  press  investigation  implicated  the  police  in  four 
suspicious  homicides  in  1991.   The  Government  has  neither 



acknowledged  these  allegations  nor  taken  any  measures  to 
investigate  them. 

b.  Disappearance 

It  is  impossible  either  to  enumerate  or  confirm  instances  of 
disappearances  in  Mauritania  for  the  past  year.   Of  the  many 
(up  to  3,000)  Halpulaar  and  Soninke  military  officers,  enlisted 
men  and  civilians  who  were  arrested  and  tortured  in  military 
custody  for  involvement  in  an  alleged  coup  attempt, 
approximately  500  never  returned  to  their  homes.   They  are 
presumed  to  have  died,  although  the  Government  has  refused  to 
confirm  this. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Despite  the  Government's  stated  opposition  to  torture  and  the 
legal  prohibition  against  its  use,  the  security  forces—^ 
routinely  mistreated  persons  in  custody,  particularly  political 
dissidents  and  black  Mauritanians.   Many  of  the  detainees 
arrested  in  the  fall  of  1990  in  connection  with  the  alleged 
coup  plot  were  subjected  to  particularly  brutal  interrogation 
techniques,  as  security  forces  attempted  to  extract 
self-incriminating  confessions  of  involvement.   According  to 
those  who  survived,  scores  of  officers  and  enlisted  men 
participated  in  the  mistreatment  of  prisoners.   These  incidents 
took  place  in  at  least  a  dozen  military  bases,  prisons,  and 
installations  throughout  the  country. 

The  forms  of  torture  included  beatings,  forced  feeding  of  sand, 
electrocution,  anal  rape,  burning  of  genitals,  denial  of  water 
and  food,  and  the  so-called  jaguar  technique,  in  which  victims 
are  bound  and  suspended  upside  down  while  the  soles  of  their 
feet  are  beaten.   Prisoners  detained  at  military  installations 
at  Jreida  and  at  Inal,  for  example,  were  held  in  cramped  and 
unsanitary  quarters,  denied  adequate  food  and  water,  chained 
for  prolonged  periods,  frequently  beaten,  and  forced  to  sign 
confessions.   One  survivor  from  Jreida  said  that  he  had  been 
held  in  a  single  large  room  with  roughly  100  other  persons. 
All  prisoners  were  forced  to  sit  in  fixed  positions,  with 
wrists  chained  to  ankles.   They  were  fed  small  portions  of  rice 
and  water  twice  daily.   They  had  no  separate  access  to  toilets, 
and  as  sanitary  conditions  rapidly  deteriorated,  many  became 
ill  with  beri-beri  and  other  gastrointestinal  disorders.   This 
witness  estimated  that  15  to  20  of  the  prisoners  with  whom  he 
was  confined  were  taken  away  and  never  returned,  so  he  presumed 
that  they  had  been  killed.   Another  Jreida  survivor  stated  that 
he  was  held  in  solitary  confinement  for  many  days  in  a  one-room 
cell  measuring  one  square  meter,  so  that  he  was  forced  to  sleep 
diagonally  with  his  legs  propped  against  one  wall.   He  received 
one  piece  of  bread  daily,  along  with  a  bowl  of  rice  mixed  with 

Survivors  from  the  military  facility  at  Inal,  where  up  to  200 
prisoners  reportedly  died,  have  said  that  some  of  the  detainees 
there  were  tied  by  their  testicles  to  the  rear  of 
four-wheel-drive  vehicles  and  dragged  at  high  speeds  through 
the  desert.   Several  detainees,  including  Captain  Lome 
Abdoulaye,  a  former  senior  officer  in  the  Mauritanian  Navy, 
died  as  a  result  of  this  particular  treatment.   It  was  also  at 
Inal  that  28  prisoners  were  hung  simultaneously  on  November  28, 
1990,  ostensibly  "in  celebration"  of  Independence  Day.   A 
survivor  of  military  custody  at  Nema  stated  that  his  accusers 
tied  him  to  a  tree,  removed  his  trousers,  and  tied  ropes  to  his 



genitals.  They  then  pulled  the  ropes  tightly  each  time  the 
victim  refused  their  demands  to  confess  to  involvement  in  the 
alleged  coup  plot.   The  same  witness  said  that  a  senior  officer 
at  Nema  tortured  another  victim  by  setting  him  afire.   A 
survivor  of  the  military  installation  at  N'Beika  stated  that  he 
had  been  buried  alive  in  the  sand,  threatened  with  a  pistol  to 
his  head,  and  kicked  in  the  face.   This  survivor  is  now  blind 
in  one  eye. 

In  June  police  officers  in  Nouakchott  used  nightsticks  to 
disperse  a  peaceful  protest  by  female  relatives  of  those  who 
had  been  tortured  and  killed  in  prison.   Police  singled  out 
Halpulaar  women  in  the  crowd,  beating  and  kicking  them.   As  a 
result,  10  protesters  were  hospitalized,  5  with  serious  head 

In  late  June  and  early  July,  four  members  of  the  Union  of 
Mauritanian  Workers  (the  national  trade  union)  were  tortured 
while  in  police  custody.   The  four  had  been  arrested  in  the 
aftermath  of  a  street  fight  that  broke  out  on  June  28  between 
union  members  and  police  officers.   All  four  were  severely 
beaten  and  subjected  to  the  "jaguar"  treatment.   One  victim 
also  suffered  cigarette  burns  on  his  lips  and  nostrils. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Although  Mauritanian  law  requires  expeditious  arraignment  and 
trial,  access  to  legal  counsel,  and  the  right  of  appeal,  these 
rights  are  frecjuently  not  observed,  particularly  in  cases  of 
political  dissidents  or  persons  suspected  on  national  security 
grounds.   They  are  somewhat  more  often  observed  in  ordinary 
criminal  cases.   The  courts  are  required  to  review  the  legality 
of  a  person's  detention  no  more  than  72  hours  after  his  or  her 
arrest.   Until  recently,  however,  it  was  common  practice  to 
detain  prisoners  incommunicado  for  prolonged  periods  without 
charging  them  for  any  crime  and  without  judicial  review. 

In  late  June  and  early  July,  security  officers  arrested  several 
opposition  leaders,  including  seven  prominent  members  of  the 
United  Democratic  Front,  a  dissident  (and  then  illegal) 
organization.   These  persons  were  sent  into  internal  exile  at 
various  locations  around  the  country,  where  they  remained  in 
incommunicado  detention  for  several  weeks.   They  were  released 
in  a  general  amnesty  at  the  end  of  July  and  were  never  charged 
with  any  crime. 

As  stated  elsewhere,  the  Government  in  late  1990  began 
arresting  non-Hassaniya-speaking  black  Mauritanians  in  the 
military  as  well  as  civilian  sectors.   By  the  end  of  the  year, 
between  1,500  and  3,000  persons  had  been  arrested  and  held 
incommunicado.   More  than  300  of  the  former  detainees  have  been 
dishonorably  discharged  from  the  military  without  explanation. 
Some  also  apparently  have  been  denied  back  pay  and  other 
benefits  due  them. 

In  addition  to  the  incidents  described  above,  there  continued 
to  be  credible  reports  in  1991  of  arrests,  intimidation, 
prolonged  detention,  and  expulsion  committed  by  security  forces 
in  communities  along  the  Senegal  river. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

There  are  three  types  of  courts:   the  Shari'a,  the  special 
courts,  and  the  State  Security  Court.   The  legal  system 
functions  primarily  under  the  Shari'a  (Islamic  law).   While  the 



judiciary  is  nominally  independent,  many  observers  believe  that 
judges  take  their  cues  from  the  Government  when  sentencing 
opponents  of  the  regime.   The  Ministry  of  Justice  administers 
the  Shari'a  and  selects  judicial  personnel.   The  use  by  Islamic 
judges  of  extreme  physical  punishments,  such  as  amputations,  is 
no  longer  practiced  in  Mauritania.   The  Government  also  is 
slowly  eliminating  a  number  of  unqualified  Shari'a  judges. 
Judges  cannot  be  tenured  until  they  have  completed  7  years  of 

Commercial  and  banking  offenses,  traffic  violations  that  cause 
bodily  harm,  and  offenses  against  the  security  of  the  state 
fall  under  the  jurisdiction  of  the  special  courts,  which 
supposedly  render  judgments  on  the  basis  of  laws  modeled  after 
the  French  example.   The  effective  implementation  of  justice  in 
these  courts  is  particularly  problematic  because  the  majority 
of  Mauritanian  judges  have  been  trained  neither  at  the 
university  level  nor  in  the  French  juridical  tradition. 

In  theory,  all  defendants,  regardless  of  the  court  or  their 
ability  to  pay,  have  the  legal  right  to  be  present  with  legal 
counsel  during  the  proceedings.   Defendants  may  confront 
witnesses  and  present  evidence.   They  may  appeal  the  sentences 
of  the  ordinary  courts  but  not  those  of  the  State  Security 
Court . 

Mauritanian  law  specifies  that  all  persons,  including 
foreigners,  have  the  right  to  their  property  and  possessions, 
and  may  be  deprived  of  them  only  by  a  court  decision.   In  1991, 
as  in  previous  years,  the  practice  of  justice  in  Mauritania 
continued  to  differ  substantially  from  its  theory,  particularly 
as  a  result  of  the  wide  discretionary  powers  allowed  in 
practice  to  the  forces  of  order  in  rural  jurisdictions  and  to 
the  lack  of  trained  public  defenders.   The  right  to  a  fair 
public  trial  was  often  abused,  particularly  in  the  riverine 

While  it  is  true  that  large-scale  confiscations  and  expulsions, 
such  as  those  that  occurred  in  the  previous  2  years,  were  not 
repeated  in  1991,  there  were  nevertheless  occasional  reports  of 
extrajudicial  deportations  by  security  forces  in  the  riverine 
area.   None  of  those  expelled  had  recourse  to  the  courts.   In 
many  cases,  the  homes  and  property  of  deportees  were 
subsequently  expropriated  by  the  Government.   The  Government 
has  always  maintained  that  many,  if  not  all,  of  the  persons  who 
fled  or  were  expelled  were  in  fact  Senegalese  nationals,  and 
that  their  Mauritanian  identity  documents  were  fraudulent.   As 
of  late  1991,  the  Government  had  failed  to  set  up  procedures  to 
permit  access  to  the  courts  by  expellees  who  wished  to  obtain 
confirmation  of  their  citizenship  and  the  right  to  return  to 
Mauritania.   However,  in  the  general  context  of  improving 
relations  with  Senegal,  informal  arrangements  with  security 
forces  resulted  in  a  number  of  expellees  returning  home. 

f .  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

Under  Mauritanian  law,  judicial  warrants  are  recpaired  to 
perform  home  searches.   This  requirement  is  often  ignored  in 
practice  in  "national  security"  cases.   There  were  in  1991 
repeated  reports  of  government  surveillance  of  suspected 
dissidents.   Intimidation  and  harassment  of 

non-Hassaniya-speaking  black  Mauritanians  in  the  Senegal  river 
valley  also  continued  on  a  regular  basis. 

50-726  -  92 


Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Mauritanians  in  the  latter  half  of  1991  experienced  for  the 
first  time  limited  freedom  of  speech  and  press.   Ironically, 
the  new  climate  of  liberalization  was  an  indirect  result  of  the 
mass  detention,  torture,  and  execution  of  those  alleged  to  have 
plotted  to  overthrow  the  Government .   As  evidence  of  the 
arrests  and  deaths  came  to  light  in  early  1991,  the  Mauritanian 
public  began  to  demand  an  explanation  from  the  authorities. 
Wien  no  such  explanation  was  forthcoming,  the  public  reacted  in 
a  way  it  had  not  before:   in  print.   Ant i government  tracts, 
newsletters,  and  petitions  began  circulating  in  Nouakchott  and 
other  major  cities.   These  were  followed  by  articles  in 
international  magazines  and  newspapers,  as  those  who  had 
survived  the  incidents  reported  them  from  abroad.   By  early 
summer,  public  outrage  over  the  tortures  and  executions  had 
reached  a  fever  pitch,  and  opposition  leaders  were  for  the 
first  time  calling  for  Taya's  ouster  and  a  complete  reworking 
of  the  political  system.   In  the  face  of  these  demands. 
President  Taya  on  July  25  promulgated  ordinances  permitting  the 
creation  of  political  parties  and  a  free  press. 

Since  that  time  a  lively  competition  has  developed  among  more 
than  a  dozen  weekly  papers,  all  of  which  have  become 
increasingly  bold  at  criticizing  the  Government,  particularly 
for  its  perceived  insensitivity  to,  and  condonation  of,  human 
rights  abuses.   The  papers  have  formed  an  independent  press 
association,  which  was  successful  at  heading  off  censorship  of 
at  least  one  publication.   However,  both  the  press  and  the 
parties  operate  within  tightly  circumscribed  limits.   All 
newspapers  and  political  parties  must  register  with  the 
Ministry  of  Interior,  for  example.   There  is  still  only  one 
daily  paper,  which  is  published  and  controlled  by  the  Ministry 
of  Information.   Furthermore,  the  independent  weeklies  reach 
only  a  limited  audience,  not  only  due  to  financial  constraints 
but  also  because  the  majority  of  Mauritanians  cannot  read. 
Access  to  television  and  radio,  to  which  large  numbers  of  the 
population  presumably  listen,  remains  the  unique  preserve  of 
the  Ministry  of  Information.   However,  the  Government  has 
stated  it  will  give  the  opposition  parties  radio  and  television 
air  time  during  the  electoral  campaign. 

The  regime  continued  to  sanction  publishers  for  any  public 
conments  it  considered  a  threat  to  state  security,  particularly 
those  criticizing  the  Government's  ethnic  policies.   For 
example,  the  Government  halted  publication  of  the  August  1991 
issue  of  the  magazine  Mauritanie  Demain,  which  contained 
first-hand  accounts  of  Halpulaars  who  had  survived  torture 
while  in  military  confinement.   In  practice,  freedom  of 
expression  continues  to  be  restricted.   Most  Mauritanians 
criticize  government  policies  only  in  conversations  with 
friends  and  relatives.   Military  personnel  are  under  tight 
surveillance,  and  views  expressed  to  military  colleagues  in 
private  that  could  be  construed  as  even  mildly  critical  of  the 
Government  are  likely  to  cause  intense  interrogation  by 
military  security  officers. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Although  Mauritanian  law  guarantees  the  rights  of  assembly  and 
association,  all  political  movements  and  activities  had  been 
prohibited  until  just  recently,  and  most  groups  operated 
clandestinely  or  from  outside  the  country.   Even  under  the  new 



ordinances  legalizing  political  parties,  all  groups  must  be 
registered  with  the  Minister  of  Interior  and  obtain  permission 
for  large  meetings  or  assemblies.   By  year's  end,  the  Interior 
Ministry  had  recognized  12  political  parties,  all  of  which  held 
open,  regular  meetings.   Despite  some  government  harassment, 
several  of  the  parties  also  organized  large  rallies,  drawing 
thousands  of  participants.   In  late  November,  the  Government 
was  criticized  for  denying  a  party  permit  to  a  group  of 
self-proclaimed  radical  Islamists.   The  Government  justified 
its  action  by  citing  the  new  Constitution,  which  forbids  the 
establishment  of  parties  based  on  religion. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Islam  is  the  official  religion  of  Mauritania.   Virtually  all 
citizens  are  Muslim.   Mauritanian  Muslims  are  prohibited  from 
entering  non-Islamic  houses  of  worship  and  from  converting  to 
another  religion.   Proselytizing  by  non-Muslims  and  the 
construction  of  Christian  churches  and  other  non-Islamic  houses 
of  worship  are  prohibited.   The  Roman  Catholic  community  in 
Mauritania  has  five  churches,  which  operate  freely  as  long  as 
they  restrict  their  services  to  resident  foreigners. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Traditionally,  there  have  been  few  restrictions  on  movement 
within  Mauritania,  where  nomadism  has  long  been  a  way  of  life. 
However,  following  the  rupture  of  relations  with  Senegal  in 
1989  and  the  attendant  violence  in  the  riverine  area,  local 
authorities  imposed  and  enforced  at  their  own  initiative 
dusk-to-dawn  curfews  in  some  villages.   This  practice  continued 
in  1991,  though  on  a  much-diminished  level.   Although 
Mauritanians  since  1985  have  not  needed  exit  visas  to  travel 
abroad,  there  are  recurrent  reports  that  some 
persons — primarily  antiregime  activists  and 
non-Hassaniya-speaking  blacks — were-  denied  passports  for 
unexplained,  and  possibly  political,  reasons. 

The  100,000  or  more  Mauritanian  nationals  expelled  from  Senegal 
and  Mali  in  1990  and  earlier  were  largely  reabsorbed  into 
Mauritania  through  govermnent  and  private  means  by  the  end  of 
1991.   However,  as  some  of  them  were  settled  on  land  belonging 
to  expelled  Mauritanian  residents,  the  seed  of  future  trouble 
has  been  planted  if  those  expelled  eventually  return. 
Approximately  55,000  expelled  Mauritanian  residents  are  still 
resident  in  camps  in  Senegal,  awaiting  a  political  settlement 
between  the  two  countries  which  could  include  terms  for 
repatriation  or  indemnification.   These  refugees,  plus  an 
additional  13,000  Halpulaar  refugees  in  Mali,  were  expelled 
from  or  fled  Mauritania  beginning  in  1989. 

Mauritania  has  become  the  refuge  for  some  18,000  Tuareg  and 
Maur  refugees  fleeing  from  ethnic  strife  in  Mali's  northern 
regions.   They  live  in  camps  largely  supported  by  an 
international  effort  led  by  the  United  Nations  High 
Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR) .   Finally,  as  a  result  of  the 
ongoing  conflict  in  neighboring  Western  Sahara  between  Morocco 
and  the  Polisario  Front,  a  small  number  of  refugees  from  the 
Western  Sahara  have  settled  in  Nouadhibou  and  other  northern 
towns  and  have  been  successfully  absorbed  into  Mauritanian 



Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

In  1991  citizens  did  not  have  this  right.   However,  the  Taya 
Government  in  the  latter  part  of  1991  took  steps  in  the 
direction  of  a  multiparty  system,  scheduling  presidential 
elections  for  January  24,  1992.   Legislative  elections  are  to 
be  held  before  April  1992.   At  year's  end,  all  political  power 
continued  to  rest  in  the  hands  of  the  military  regime. 

The  Military  Committee  for  National  Salvation  (CMSN)  continued 
to  wield  all  executive  and  legislative  functions.   Membership 
is  limited  to  military  officers,  who  occupy  ministerial 
positions  or  important  military  and  security  posts.   The  CMSN 
is  comprised  predominantly  of  Maurs.   Non-Maur  membership  on 
the  CMSN  and  in  other  senior  civilian  and  military  positions 
has  decreased  in  the  wake  of  ethnic  tensions. 

The  Government  uses  a  quasi-political  organization,  the 
Structure  for  the  Education  of  the  Masses  (SEM),  to  mobilize 
people  to  carry  out  local  improvement  projects,  to  relay  policy 
initiatives,  and  to  serve  as  a  channel  to  discuss  grievances. 
SEM's  are  found  at  all  governmental  levels  down  to  villages  and 
neighborhoods.   In  practice,  most  significant  grievances, 
including  violence,  are  discussed  at  the  family,  clan,  or 
tribal  level  first  and  passed  along  to  influential  governmental 
figures  of  the  saune  family  or  tribe.   In  late  1991,  there  was 
rising  public  sentiment  against  the  SEM's,  which  according  to 
many  were  a  conduit  for  patronage  and  election  fraud  in  the 
municipal  elections  held  in  previous  years.   Opposition  parties 
were  demanding  that  the  SEM's  be  dismantled. 

The  parties  criticized  the  Government  for  the  way  it 
implemented  the  new  Constitution  and  for  its  control  of 
election  planning.   The  parties  also  demanded  that  Taya  step 
down  in  favor  of  a  transitional  government.   Taya  made  several 
unilateral  concessions  but  did  not  accede  to  the  opposition's 
principal  demands  for  a  delay  of  the  elections  and  the 
installation  of  a  neutral  transition  government. 

The  opposition  argued  that  the  new  Constitution  was  neither 
drafted  in  consultation  with  opposition  leaders  nor  approved  by 
a  majority  of  the  population.   The  Constitution  was  adopted  in 
a  controversial  July  referendum;  the  opposition  disputes  the 
Government's  claims  that  85  percent  of  the  population  went  to 
the  polls  and  that  96  percent  of  those  voting  favored  adoption 
of  the  document.   Notwithstanding  the  complaints  about  the 
electoral  process,  four  persons,  including  President  Taya,  are 
candidates  for  the  Presidency. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  only  officially  recognized  human  rights  organization  within 
the  country  is  the  Mauritanian  Human  Rights  League.   Many 
Mauritanians  and  international  observers  no  longer  consider  the 
League  a  viable  or  independent  organization.   Not  since  July 
1989  has  it  publicly  commented  on  or  questioned  the 
Government's  human  rights  excesses.   A  new  human  rights 
organization  is  in  gestation  but  had  not  been  legally 
recognized  by  the  Ministry  of  Interior  by  the  end  of  the  year. 

In  the  wake  of  the  1989  dispute  with  Senegal  and  the  1990/early 
1991  detentions  and  deaths,  the  Taya  regime  took  a  defensive 



posture  toward  h\inian  rights  investigations.   It  refused  to 
appoint  an  independent  commission  to  investigate  the  incidents, 
despite  continued  pressure  from  foreign  countries  and 
international  nongovernmental  organizations.   It  objected  to 
the  activities  of  Amnesty  International  and  Africa  Watch,  both 
of  which  published  reports  on  human  rights  abuses  in 
Mauritania.  "It  also  objected  to  actions  by  the  United  States 
Government,  including  the  suspension  of  military  assistance  and 
congressional  hearings  into  the  human  rights  situation  in 
Mauritania.   However,  in  December,  a  visiting  Mauritanian 
presidential  counselor  invited  Amnesty  International  and  Africa 
Watch  to  visit  Mauritania  to  observe  the  human  rights  situation 
first  hand. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Mauritania  is  situated  geographically  and  culturally  on  the 
divide  between  traditionally  nomadic  Arabic  (Hassaniya)- 
speaking  Maurs  of  the  north  and  the  sedentary  black  cultivators 
of  the  African  south.   The  interaction  of  these  two  groups 
produces  complex  cultural  diversity  as  well  as  ethnic  tensions 
in  Mauritanian  society.   Historically,  the  Hassaniya-speaking 
white  Maurs  have  dominated  the  political  and  economic  system. 
Taken  together,  the  Hassaniya-speaking  black  Maurs  and 
Mauritania's  non-Hassaniya-speaking  blacks  outnumber  the  white 
Maurs  by  a  considerable  majority.   This  racial  majority  is  by 
no  means  cohesive,  however,  because  black  Maurs  identify  in 
many  ways  more  closely  with  the  white  Maur  population.   White 
Maurs  hold  the  dominant  positions  in  government,  state 
enterprises,  business,  and  religious  institutions,  and  many 
non-Hassaniya-speaking  black  Mauritanians  have  long  contended 
that  this  situation  is  a  result  of  ethnic  and  linguistic 

It  has  been  a  longstanding  policy  of  the  Government  to  promote 
Arabization  and  the  use  of  Arabic  as  the  country's  principal 
language.   Although  French  is  still  widely  used  as  well, 
particularly  among  black  Mauritanians,  the  new  Constitution 
enacted  in  July  1991  eliminates  French  as  an  official 
language.   Non-Hassaniya-speaking  black  Mauritanians  also 
charge  that  the  Government's  1983  land  reform  law  is 
increasingly  being  misused  to  allow  white  and  black  Maurs  to 
encroach  on  fertile  land  in  the  Senegal  river  valley  that  had 
been  traditionally  their  preserve.   Mauritania's  dry  and 
inhospitable  climate  has  contributed  to  the  hostile  feelings 
between  livestock  raising  Maurs  and  farming  blacks.   A 
decade-long  drought  has  increased  the  traditional  flow  of 
nomads  from  the  north  into  the  more  fertile  southern  regions, 
further  exacerbating  tensions. 

The  longstanding  ethnic  divisions  within  Mauritanian  society 
came  dramatically  to  the  fore  in  April  1989.   The  events  of 
that  period  resulted  more  from  an  eruption  of  underlying  ethnic 
hostilities  than  from  officially  sanctioned  government  policy. 
However,  the  extrajudicial  expulsions  that  followed  were 
clearly  based  on  ethnicity.   Only  non-Hassaniya-speaking  blacks 
were  deprived  of  citizenship  and  deported.   The  resulting 
cross-border  raids  were  thus  carried  out  by  non-Hassaniya- 
speakers,  and  security  force  reprisals  were  therefore  directed 
solely  against  these  groups. 

Theoretically,  women  have  legal  rights  to  property,  divorce, 
and  child  custody.   In  practice,  both  marriage  and  divorce  can 
take  place  without  the  woman's  consent.   Although  there  is  a 



somewhat  lower  percentage  of  women  than  men  educated  at  the 
university  level,  there  are  no  legal  restrictions  on  education 
for  women.  Women  do  not  wear  the  veil,  may  operate 
automobiles,  and  may  own  and  manage  their  own  businesses.   The 
Government  is  encouraging  the  entry  of  women  into  the 
professions,  government,  and  business,  and  a  number  of  women 
have  moved  into  senior  or  midlevel  government  positions  in 
recent  years.   In  late  1991,  there  were  two  women  at  the 
highest  levels  of  government:  the  Assistant  Director  of  the 
President's  Cabinet  and  an  Advisor  to  the  President.   However, 
many  Mauritanian  women  feel  that  these  positions  are  more 
symbolic  than  substantive. 

The  Government  has  been  instrumental  in  opening  up  new 
employment  opportunities  for  women  in  areas  traditionally 
reserved  for  men,  such  as  hospital  work.   According  to 
Mauritanian  law,  men  and  women  must  receive  equal  pay  for  equal 
work;  Mauritania's  two  largest  employers,  the  Civil  Service  and 
the  State  Mining  Company,  SNIM,  respect  this  law. 

Violence  against  women  occurs,  but  no  data  exist  to  indicate 
its  extent.   The  police  and  judiciary  have  been  known  to 
intervene  in  domestic  disputes,  but  only  recently  has  the 
Mauritanian  media  begun  to  investigate  this.   The  Government 
has  taken  no  position  nor  issued  any  statements  on  violence 
against  women  or  on  female  genital  mutilation  (circumcision),  a 
tradition  in  some  areas  of  southern  Mauritania  where  the  most 
dangerous  form,  inf ibulation,  is  practiced.   This  custom  is 
seldom,  if  ever,  practiced  in  the  north,  and  some  evidence 
indicates  that  the  incidence  of  female  circumcision  is 
diminishing  in  the  modern,  urbanized  sector. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  are  free  to  establish  unions  at  the  local  and  national 
level.   There  are  currently  36  trade  unions  in  the  country. 
All,  however,  must  be  affiliates  of  the  Union  of  Mauritanian 
Workers  (UTM) ,  by  law  the  country's  only  central  labor  body. 
The  UTM's  traditional  independence  from  the  Government  was 
broken  in  1991  when  its  leadership,  responding  to  members' 
anger  at  the  continued  detention  of  military  prisoners,  called 
an  unsuccessful  general  strike.   Through  a  combination  of 
strong-arm  tactics,  co-optation,  and  successful  inside 
maneuvering,  the  Government  undercut  the  union  leadership, 
discredited  the  strikers,  and  installed  a  tame  replacement  UTM 
leadership.   UTM  members  arrested  after  street  fighting  in  June 
were  tortured  (see  Section  I.e.). 

Although  Mauritanian  law  grants  workers  the  right  to  strike,  in 
practice  strikes  rarely  occur,  due  to  government  pressure. 
Under  Mauritanian  law,  tripartite  arbitration  committees, 
composed  of  union,  business,  and  government  representatives, 
may  impose  binding  arbitration  that  automatically  terminates 
any  strike. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Unions  are  free  to  organize  workers  without  government  or 
employer  interference.   According  to  the  UTM,  close  to  90 
percent  of  industrial  and  commercial  workers  in  Mauritania  are 
members  of  unions.   The  laws  providing  workers'  protection 
against  antiunion  discrimination  are  regularly  enforced.   True 
collective  bargaining  is  limited  by  the  Government ' s  leadership 



role.   Wages  and  other  benefits  are  decided  informally  between 
individual  unions,  employers,  the  Government,  and  the  UTM.   In 
addition,  employees  or  employers  may  bring  labor  disputes  to 
three-person  labor  courts  that  are  overseen  jointly  by  the 
Ministries  of  Justice  and  Labor.   Labor  leaders  regard  these 
courts  as  unbiased  and  effective.   There  are  no  export 
processing  zones  in  Mauritania. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Slavery  was  officially  abolished  in  Mauritania  several  times, 
most  recently  in  1980,  but  many  persons  whose  ancestors  were 
slaves  still  occupied  positions  of  servitude  in  1991.   This  was 
due  in  part  to  the  economic  hardships  they  would  have 
encountered  if  they  had  left.   However,  in  some  areas  persons 
were  sometimes  held  against  their  will  and  forced  to  perform 
unpaid  labor.   Human  rights  organizations  claim  that  slavery 
persists  and  charge  that  the  Government  has  taken  no 
significant  practical  steps  to  eradicate  the  practice.   Several 
reports  indicated  that  some  instances  of  forced  labor  involved 
young  children. 

d.  Minimxim  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

Education  is  not  compulsory  in  Mauritania,  but  Mauritanian  law 
specifies  that  no  child  may  be  employed  before  the  age  of  13  in 
the  agricultural  sector  without  the  permission  of  the  Minister 
of  Labor,  nor  before  the  age  of  15  in  the  nonagricultural 
sector.   The  law  provides  that  employed  children  aged  14  to  16 
should  receive  7  0  percent  of  the  minimum  wage,  and  those  from 
17  to  18  should  receive  90  percent  of  the  minimum  wage.   There 
is  limited  enforcement  of  child  labor  laws  by  the  few 
inspectors  in  the  Ministry  of  Labor.   In  practice,  much  younger 
children  in  the  countryside  pursue  herding,  cultivation,  and 
other  significant  labor  in  support  of  their  families' 
traditional  activities.   In  accordance  with  longstanding 
tradition,  some  children  serve  apprenticeships  in  small 
industries,  but  overall,  child  labor  in  the  nonagricultural 
sector  does  not  appear  to  be  widespread. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  guaranteed  minimum  wage  for  adults  was  raised  at  the  end  of 
1991  but  even  so  it  barely  enabled  the  average  family  to  meet 
its  minimum  needs.   The  standard,  legal  nonagricultural 
workweek  in  Mauritania  cannot  exceed  either  40  hours  or  6  days 
without  overtime  compensation,  which  is  paid  at  rates  that  are 
graduated  according  to  the  number  of  supplemental  hours 
worked.   Reliable  data  on  actual  wage  levels  is  scarce. 
Enforcement  of  the  labor  laws  is  the  responsibility  of  the 
Labor  Inspectorate  of  the  Ministry  of  Labor  but  in  practice  is 
limited  by  the  shortage  of  qualified  personnel. 

In  April  1990,  the  Senegalese  Confederation  of  Workers  (CNTS) 
submitted  a  representation  to  the  International  Labor 
Organization  (ILO) ,  charging  the  Government  of  Mauritania  with 
violating  several  ILO  conventions.   The  CNTS  detailed  the 
Government's  "deportation  and  banishment  of  its  own  black 
African  citizens"  and  specified  numerous  sectors  in  which 
significant  numbers  of  non-Hassaniya-speaking  blacks  were 
dismissed  without  cause  and,  in  many  cases,  deprived  of  basic 



Mauritius,  a  parliamentary  democracy  and  a  member  of  the 
Commonwealth  of  Nations,  is  governed  by  an  elected  prime 
minister,  a  council  of  ministers,  and  a  legislative  assembly. 
In  December  the  Legislative  Assembly  voted  to  change  Mauritius' 
status  within  the  Commonwealth,  effective  March  12,  1992. 
Under  the  amended  Constitution,  a  Mauritian-born  president 
nominated  by  the  Prime  Minister  and  confirmed  by  the  Assembly 
will  replace  the  British  Monarch  as  Head  of  State.   Like  the 
Governor  General  under  the  previous  system,  the  President's 
powers  will  be  largely  ceremonial.   Fair  and  orderly  elections, 
supervised  by  an  independent  commission,  at  national  and  local 
levels  take  place  at  regular  intervals.   There  are  four  major 
political  parties,  which  reflect  a  range  of  ideological  views, 
and  several  smaller  parties.   Prime  Minister  Anerood  Jugnauth's 
current  coalition  received  a  broad  mandate  in  general  elections 
in  September . 

A  paramilitary  Special  Mobile  Force  of  some  1,200  men  and  a 
240-man  Special  Support  Unit  are  responsible  for  internal 
security.   These  forces,  under  the  command  of  the  Commissioner 
of  Police,  are  largely  apolitical,  well  trained,  and  backed  by 
a  general  duty  police  force  of  approximately  4,000  men. 

The  economy  is  based  on  export-oriented  manufacturing  (mainly 
textiles),  sugar,  and  tourism.   The  rapid  economic  growth  of 
the  mid-1980 's  has  slowed  as  a  result  of  labor  shortages.  The 
Government,  with  the  help  of  international  donors,  is 
attempting  to  diversify  the  industrial  base  to  favor  high 
technology,  capital-intensive  production. 

The  Government  generally  continued  to  demonstrate  respect  for 
basic  human  rights.   Political  and  civil  rights,  including  the 
freedoms  of  speech  and  press,  are  protected  under  the 
Constitution  and  respected  in  practice.   The  Prime  Minister 
established  the  Garrioch  Committee  in  1990  to  conduct  an 
independent  review  of  several  controversial  laws  generally 
considered  to  be  repressive,  specifically  the  Public  Order  Act 
(POA),  which  permits  detention  without  charge  or  trial,  the 
Industrial  Relations  Act  (IRA),  which  limits  the  right  to 
strike,  and  the  Newspapers  and  Periodicals  Act,  which  makes  it 
illegal  to  publish  false  news.   By  the  end  of  1991,  the 
Committee  had  completed  its  report  to  the  Government  on  all 
legislation  but  the  IRA. 


Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  government-inspired  political  or 
extrajudicial  killings. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  the  disappearance  of  persons  for 
political  causes. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Torture  and  inhuman  punishment  are  prohibited  by  law,  and  there 
were  no  reports  of  degrading  treatment  or  punishment.   There 



have  been  several  allegations  in  the  media  of  police 
mistreatment  of  suspects,  but  follow-up  investigations  failed 
to  confirm  any  abuses. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Under  the  Constitution,  detained  persons  have  the  right  to  a 
judicial  determination  of  the  legality  of  their  detention. 
Although  the  time  limit  for  making  this  aetermination  is  not 
specified  in  law,  in  practice  it  is  usually  made  within  24 
hours.   Bail  is  commonly  granted.   The  Public  Gathering  Act 
(PGA),  which  replaced  the  Public  Order  Act  based  on 
recommendations  from  the  Garrioch  Committee,  no  longer  allows 
for  indefinite  detention  without  charge  or  trial. 

Exile  is  legally  prohibited  and  not  practiced. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Mauritius'  judicial  system,  modeled  on  that  of  Great  Britain, 
consists  of  the  Supreme  Court,  which  has  appellate  powers,  and 
a  series  of  lower  courts.   Final  appeal  may  be  made  to  the 
Queen's  Privy  Council  in  the  United  Kingdom  and  is  routinely 
made  in  the  cases  of  death  sentences.  About  50  percent  of 
Supreme  Court  rulings  referred  to  the  Privy  Council  are 
reversed.   There  are  no  political  or  military  courts. 

The  Governor  General  (as  of  1992  the  President),  in 
consultation  with  the  Prime  Minister,  nominates  the  Chief 
Justice  and,  in  consultation  with  the  Chief  Justice,  nominates 
the  senior  puisne  (associate)  judges.   The  Governor  General 
nominates  other  judges  on  the  advice  of  the  Judicial  and  Legal 
Service  Commissions.   The  legal  system  has  consistently 
provided  fair,  public  trials  for  those  charged  with  crimes. 
Defendants  have  the  right  to  private  or  court-appointed 
counsel.   The  judiciary  is  also  charged  under  the  Constitution 
with  ensuring  that  new  laws  are  consistent  with  democratic 

Recently  several  prominent  legal  specialists  have  been  critical 
of  government  interference  in  the  judicial  process  and  have 
warned  against  undermining  the  independence  of  the  judiciary. 
In  particular,  this  criticism  coincided  with  the  Government's 
handling  of  the  Boodhoo  and  Ballah  cases.   (In  the  1989  arrests 
of  Harish  Boodhoo,  the  well-known  leader  of  the  Mauritian 
Socialist  Party  (PSM),  and  Vedi  Ballah,  the  editor  of  the  PSM 
newspaper.  The  Socialist,  the  authorities  held  them  for  3  weeks 
and  1  week  respectively  before  bail  was  granted.   They  were 
charged  under  the  now  defunct  Public  Order  Act  with  giving  out 
false  information  that  could  cause  a  public  disturbance.) 

There  were  no  political  prisoners  in  Mauritius  at  year's  end. 

f .  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 

The  sanctity  of  the  home  is  guaranteed  by  law  and  generally 
respected  in  practice.   The  search  of  personal  property  or 
premises  is  allowed  only  under  clearly  specified  conditions  by 
court  order  or  by  police  decision  if  an  illegal  act  has  been 
committed.   There  have  been  credible  reports  that  the 
Government's  intelligence  apparatus  occasionally  opens  mail  and 
carries  out  surveillance  of  local  opposition  leaders  and  other 
major  figures. 


Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Freedom  of  speech  and  press  is  protected  by  the  Constitution 
and  local  tradition  and  is  generally  respected  in  practice. 
Debate  in  the  Legislative  Assembly  is  lively  and  open.   Sixteen 
privately  owned  daily,  weekly,  and  monthly  newspapers  present 
varying  political  viewpoints  and  freely  express  partisan 
views.   However,  newspapers  are  subject  to  the  legal 
constraints  of  libel  laws,  vrtiich,  under  the  1984  Newspaper  and 
Periodicals  (Amendment)  Act,  can  be  used  by  the  Government  to 
limit  press  criticism,  as  was  done  in  the  Boodhoo  and  Ballah 
cases . 

The  Government  owns  the  two  television  and  three  radio  stations 
(one  strictly  educational),  which  broadcast  in  12  languages  and 
dialects.   Television  and  radio  tend  to  reflect  government 
editorial  and  programming  policies.   Opposition  politicians 
have  accused  the  Broadcasting  Corporation  of  political  bias  in 
its  local  news  coverage.   The  political  opposition  successfully 
challenged  the  television  stations  to  permit  its  candidates 
programming  time  on  the  eve  of  general  elections  in  September. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Mauritians  enjoy  the  right  to  form  associations,  including 
political  parties,  trade  unions,  and  religious  organizations, 
although  in  practice  all  such  organizations  need  government 
approval  in  order  to  operate  officially.   Mauritius  has  a 
multitude  of  such  private  organizations.   Political,  cultural, 
and  religious  assemblies  are  commonplace. 

Although  police  permission  is  required  for  holding 
demonstrations  and  mass  meetings,  such  permission  is  rarely 
refused.   Registered  political  parties  and  alliances  held 
numerous  public  rallies  in  the  leadup  to  general  and  municipal 
elections  in  September  and  October.   All  rallies  were  peaceful. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

There  is  no  state  religion  in  Mauritius.   Hindus  are  a 
majority,  but  Christians,  Muslims,  Buddhists,  and  others  openly 
practice,  teach,  and  proselytize  their  religions  without 
prejudice.   All  religious  institutions  receive  state  subsidies 
in  proportion  to  their  memberships.   There  is  no 
state-sponsored  discrimination  against  any  ethnic  or  religious 
community.   The  Government  facilitates  the  travel  of  Mauritians 
who  make  the  hajj.   Foreign  missionaries  are  not  allowed  to 
enter  the  country  without  a  prior  request  from  a  local 
religious  organization. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

There  are  no  restrictions  on  freedom  of  movement  within  the 
country.   Foreign  travel  and  emigration  are  also  unrestricted. 
However,  there  is  no  blanket  guarantee  of  repatriation,  and 
there  are  no  general  criteria  for  processing  repatriation 
applications.   Applications  from  Mauritians  abroad  who  lost 
their  citizenship  after  acquiring  a  second  nationality 
(estimated  to  be  several  thousand)  are  handled  on  a 
case-by-case  and  sometimes  arbitrary  basis.   This  remains  an 
issue  of  political  debate  as  more  Mauritians  abroad  seek  to 
reclaim  their  Mauritian  citizenship. 



Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:  The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  have  the  right  and  ability  to  change  their  government 
through  democratic  means.   Mauritius  is  governed  by  a  freely 
elected,  unicameral  Legislative  Assembly,  with  executive 
direction  coming  from  a  Council  of  Ministers,  currently  headed 
by  Prime  Minister  Sir  Anerood  Jugnauth,  whose  Alliance 
coalitions  won  elections  in  1983,  1987,  and  1991.   The  Governor 
General  has  the  right  to  desigiiate  the  person  charged  with 
forming  a  new  government  following  parliamentary  elections  or 
in  a  parliamentary  crisis.   Parliamentary,  municipal,  and 
village  council  elections  are  held  at  regular  intervals.   All 
citizens  18  years  of  age  and  over  have  the  right  to  vote  and 
run  for  office. 

In  the  Legislative  Assembly,  up  to  8  members  are  appointed 
through  a  complex  "best  loser"  system  designed  in  part  to 
ensure  that  all  ethnic  groups  are  adequately  represented.   The 
governing  (three-party)  Alliance  coalition  now  controls  59  of 
the  66  seats.   The  four  major  political  parties  and  the  smaller 
parties  often  match  the  ethnicity  or  religion  of  their 
candidates  to  the  composition  of  particular  electoral 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  violations 
of  Human  Rights 

Several  local  human  rights  groups  monitor  developments  without